Direct analysis of Stevia leaves for diterpene glycosides by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Ayanna U. Jackson, Alessandra Tata, Chunping Wu, Richard H. Perry, George Haas, Leslie West, R. Graham Cooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The analysis of Stevia leaves has been demonstrated without any sample preparation using desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry. Direct rapid analysis was achieved using minimal amounts of sample (∼0.15 cm × 0.15 cm leaf fragment). Characteristic constituents of the Stevia plant are observed in both the positive and negative ion modes including a series of diterpene 'sweet' glycosides. The presence of the glycosides was confirmed via tandem mass spectrometry analysis using collision-induced dissociation and further supported by exact mass measurements using an LTQ-Orbitrap. The analysis of both untreated and hexane-extracted dry leaves proved that DESI can be successfully used to analyze untreated leaf fragments as identical profiles were obtained from both types of samples. Characterization and semi-quantitative determination of the glycosides was achieved based on the glycoside profile within the full mass spectrum. In addition, the presence of characteristic glycosides in an all-natural commercial Stevia dietary supplement was confirmed. This study provides an example of the application of DESI to direct screening of plant materials, in this case diterpene glycosides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)867-874
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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