Direct analysis of traditional Chinese medicines by mass spectrometry

Melody Yee Man Wong, Pui Kin So, Zhongping Yao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) plays important roles in quality control of TCMs and understanding their pharmacological effects. Mass spectrometry (MS) is a technique of choice for analysis of TCMs due to its superiority in speed, sensitivity and specificity. However, conventional MS analysis of TCMs typically requires extensive sample pretreatment and chromatographic separation, which could be time-consuming and laborious, prior to the analysis. The expanding usage of TCMs worldwide demands development of rapid, cost-effective and reliable methods for analysis of TCMs. In recent years, new sample preparation and ionization techniques have been developed to enable direct analysis of TCMs by MS, significantly reducing the analysis time and cost. In this review, various MS-based techniques, mainly including ambient ionization-MS and MALDI-MS based techniques, applied for direct analysis of TCMs are summarized and their applicability and future prospects are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Ambient ionization
  • Direct analysis
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization
  • Traditional Chinese medicines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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