Pelargonium oil and methyl hexaneamine (MHA): Analytical approaches supporting the absence of MHA in authenticated pelargonium graveolens plant material and oil

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Journal of Analytical Toxicology


Methylhexaneamine (MHA) has been marketed in dietary supplements based on arguments that it is a constituent of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) leaves, stems, roots or oil, and therefore qualifies as a dietary ingredient. The purpose of this study is to determine whether P. graveolens plant material (authenticated) or its oil contains detectable quantities of MHA. Two analytical methods were developed for the analysis of MHA in P. graveolens using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The results were further confirmed using liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. Twenty commercial volatile oils, three authenticated volatile oils and authenticated P. graveolens leaves and stems (young and mature, and fresh and dried) were analyzed for MHA content. In addition, three dietary supplements containing MHA that alleged P. graveolens as the source are analyzed for their MHA content. The data show that none of the authenticated P. graveolens essential oils or plant material, nor any commercial volatile oil of Pelargonium (geranium oil) contain MHA at detectable levels (limit of detection: 10 ppb). The dietary supplements that contained MHA as one of their ingredients (allegedly from geranium or geranium stems) contained large amounts of MHA. The amounts of MHA measured are incompatible with the use of reasonable amounts of P. graveolens extract or concentrate, suggesting that MHA was of synthetic origin. © The Author [2012]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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