Separation of polar betalain pigments from cacti fruits of Hylocereus polyrhizus by ion-pair high-speed countercurrent chromatography

Sławomir Wybraniec, Paweł Stalica, Gerold Jerz, Bettina Klose, Nadine Gebers, Peter Winterhalter, Aneta Spórna, Maciej Szaleniec, Yosef Mizrahi

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58 Scopus citations


Polar betacyanin pigments together with betaxanthins from ripe cactus fruits of Hylocereus polyrhizus (Cactaceae) were fractionated by means of preparative ion-pair high-speed countercurrent chromatography (IP-HSCCC) also using the elution-extrusion (EE) approach for a complete pigment recovery. HSCCC separations were operated in the classical 'head-to-tail' mode with an aqueous mobile phase. Different CCC solvent systems were evaluated in respect of influence and effectiveness of fractionation capabilities to separate the occurring pigment profile of H. polyrhizus. For that reason, the additions of two different volatile ion-pair forming perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCA) were investigated. For a direct comparison, five samples of Hylocereus pigment extract were run on preparative scale (900 mg) in 1-butanol-acetonitrile-aqueous TFA 0.7% (5:1:6, v/v/v) and the modified systems tert.-butyl methyl ether-1-butanol-acetonitrile-aqueous PFCA (2:2:1:5, v/v/v/v) using 0.7% and 1.0% trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) or heptafluorobutyric acid (HFBA) in the aqueous phase, respectively. The chemical affinity to the organic stationary CCC solvent phases and in consequence the retention of these highly polar betalain pigments was significantly increased by the use of the more lipophilic fluorinated ion-pair reagent HFBA instead of TFA. The HFBA additions separated more effectively the typical cacti pigments phyllocactin and hylocerenin from betanin as well as their iso-forms. Unfortunately, similar KD ratios and selectivity factors α around 1.0-1.1 in all tested solvent systems proved that the corresponding diastereomers, 15S-type pigments cannot be resolved from the 15R-epimers (iso-forms). Surprisingly, additions of the stronger ion-pair reagent (HFBA) resulted in a partial separation of hylocerenin from phyllocactin which were not resolved in the other solvent systems. The pigments were detected by means of HPLC-DAD and HPLC-electrospray ionization-MS using also authentic reference materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6890-6899
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number41
StatePublished - 9 Oct 2009


  • Betalains
  • Betanin
  • Hylocerenin
  • Hylocereus polyrhizus Cactaceae
  • Ion-pair countercurrent chromatography
  • Phyllocactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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