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EYE ON CHINA
New analytical method for uleine alkaloids having anticancer activity
Two uleine alkaloids were isolated from the trunk bark of Winchia calophylla which exhibited anticancer activity. Their potential applications in clinical experiments necessitate the development of a new method for the analysis of uleine alkaloids.

In order to establish a reliable, fast and low-cost analysis method, researchers in Prof. Wu Zhijun lab at the Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated their structural characteristic using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) method. Dr. Wu and his colleagues revealed fragmentation rules of uleine alkaloids and found that a Retro Diels Alder (RDA) reaction played a significant role in their skeletal fragmentation. The corresponding information can be used for the rapid analysis of uleine alkaloids in complex mixtures from plant extract.

The method is a rapid and new analysis method for the identification of uleine alkaloids in complex matrices and also provides a new way for their total synthesis.This research entitled “Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry of uleine alkaloids” was published in Rapid Commun.Mass Spectrom. on September 19, 2012.

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