CHARACTERIZATION OF BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE CATECHINS USING CAPILLARY LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY-MASS SPECTROMETRY. Joseph J. Dalluge, Jeanice Brown-Thomas, Lane C. Sander, and Bryant C. Nelson. Building 222, Room B208, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, USA (301-975-3651, email:


Epidemiological studies suggest that protection from cancer, heart disease, and hypertension is afforded to populations that consume tea as their major beverage. Furthermore it appears this protection is due to catechins, a group of flavonoids produced abundantly in green tea (Camellia sinensis). The major tea catechins include epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These natural products have been shown to exhibit potentially beneficial medicinal properties including inhibition of carcinogenesis, tumorogenesis, and mutagenesis, as well as strong antioxidant activity and prevention of cardiovascular sclerosis. Here, we describe a sensitive method for the characterization of catechins in tea using capillary liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry. Picomolar quantities of catechins have been separated and characterized using a C18-packed, 250 µm I.D. capillary directly coupled to a Finnegan MAT TSQ70 electrospray mass spectrometer. It is our hope this method will provide a basis for the development of a quantitative assay for catechins in human plasma.