Characterization of the polyphenolic fraction of pomegranate samples by comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry detection

Punica granatum L., commonly known as pomegranate, is an ancient fruit widely consumed all over the world as fresh fruit or juice. In addition, it is extensively used in therapeutic formulas, cosmetics and food seasonings. The fruit is native to Afghanistan, Iran, China and the Indian sub-continent. The pomegranate market has steadily grown, presumably due to the increasing demand of health-conscious consumers for products with potential beneficial effects on human health, due to the synergistic presence of a unique and complex phytochemical composition that enclose anthocyanins, phenolic acids and hydrolysable tannins. Conventionally, for their analysis liquid chromatography is employed even though it can present some drawbacks in terms of resolving power. In this contribution, as a valuable alternative, comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography with “shifted gradients” in the second dimension, was applied for the characterization of three pomegranate samples, leading to the identification of 37 different polyphenolic compounds.