Investigating Serotonin in Nuts Using UHPLC–MS/MS

February 6, 2019
Lewis Botcherby
The Column
Volume 15, Issue 2
Page Number: 6

Researchers from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, have developed an UHPLC–MS/MS method to determine serotonin in raw and roasted nuts and nut products, including bars, chocolate, and spreads.

 

Researchers from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, have developed an ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method to determine serotonin in raw and roasted nuts and nut products, including bars, chocolate, and spreads (1).

Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a neurotransmitter, derived through the serotonin pathway from tryptophan, which acts in the serotonergic neurons of the central nervous system. It plays a large role in the regulation of appetite, anxiety, sleep, mood, and blood pressure with decreasing levels or depletion of its synthesis also being linked to diseases such as depression, obesity, and schizophrenia.

Serotonin is also found in the leaves, roots, flowers, fruits, and seeds of many plants including nuts. As nuts have a wide and varied usage in human consumption, from raw to roasted, or within processed foods, their impact on human health has been well studied. However, there is limited information around the profile of neuroactive compounds found in nuts, with the few studies available being limited to hazelnut and walnut varieties.

To address this shortfall researchers developed a UHPLC–MS/MS method that reliably analyzes serotonin in nuts and nut products, overcoming the complex oily matrix, which is one of the major challenges of nut analysis. The final method uses an environmentally friendly extraction with water without prior defatting to reduce solvent usage. Further research is currently underway utilizing this method to investigate serotonin in different nut varieties.

Reference

  • C. Yilmaz et al., Food Chem.272, 347–353 (2019).