A Case Report on the Analysis of Poisonous Alkaloids in Delphinium Plant by Liquid Chromatography-Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry
A 62-year-old male transferred to a hospital emergency room mentioned that he had drunk a liquor extract from ‘Pokeberry’ (Phytolacca americana). The liquor was summited, dehydrobrownine and delphatine, which were found in plants of the genus Delphinium, were detected via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). High-resolution quadrupole time-of-flight/mass spectrometry (QTOF/MS) can be used for toxicant identification without reference materials, and the exact mass of the target compound and MSMS fragmentation and isotope ratios can be obtained. Based on this integrated information, a comparison of the chemical structure and fragment ions can be used to identify target compounds. From liquid chromatography-QTOF/MS (LC-QTOF/MS) analysis, delsoline, delphinine, 14-acetylbrowniine, dihydrogadesine, and neoline were identified. These diterpenoid alkaloids are wellknown for intoxicating herbivorous livestock in North America, but this was the first intoxication case by genus Delphinium plants in South Korea. Through this study, LC-QTOF/MS was proven as an effective method for addressing intoxication cases in the absence of reference materials. The experience, knowledge, and analytical methods obtained in this study are a great asset for solving other potential natural phytotoxin intoxication cases.