Lycii Fructus, a solanaceous drug, is widely used as functional foods and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Samples collected from different regions of China have been found to be not identical in chemical compositions which might affect the biological activities. Although many chromatographic and spectrometric methods have been reported to determine the concentration of betaine and other bioactive amino acids, disturbance resulted from other polar substances with low UV-absorbance and expensive mass facilities reduced the applicability of these techniques. In the present study, the strong cation exchange solid phase extraction procedure incorporated with 1H NMR was successfully developed as a rapid and reliable method that can simultaneously determine betaine, citric acid, threonine, alanine, and proline in various Lycii Fructus. In addition, ERETIC 2 method based on PULCON principle was also applied and compared with conventional method. This feasible and practical method offers a very powerful tool for the quality control of commercial Lycii Fructus from different sources.
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