Chinese Journal of Chromatography ›› 2022, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (12): 1119-1127.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1123.2022.05025

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rapid screening of 14 antibacterial drugs in anti-acne cosmetics using ion mobility spectrometry coupled with solid-phase extraction

XUE Gaoxu1,2, WANG Qinyi3, CAO Ling1,*(), SUN Jing1,*(), YANG Gongjun3, FENG Youlong1, FANG Fang1   

  1. 1. Jiangsu Institute for Food and Drug Control, Nanjing 210019, China
    2. Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Jiangsu Province Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210029, China
    3. School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China
  • Received:2022-05-20 Online:2022-12-08 Published:2022-11-29
  • Contact: CAO Ling, SUN Jing
  • Supported by:
    “Six Ones Project” Top-notch Talent Project for High-level Health Talents in Jiangsu Province(LGY201810);Scientific Research Project of Jiangsu Food and Drug Administration(20170202);Jiangsu Provincial Market Supervision Administration Science and Technology Plan Project(KJ207560)


The main methods currently used to detect illegally added chemicals in cosmetics include thin-layer chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Compared with other analytical techniques, these methods have the advantages of high sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy, all of which are required in practical detection work. However, they also present a number of limitations, such as long analysis times and requirements for skilled operators and strictly controlled laboratory environments. Supervision, a growing trend in market surveillance, requires rapid and effective methods to screen illegally added chemicals. The suspected samples are sealed for some time and then sent to the laboratory for further testing. Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a new type of trace gas separation technology that was developed in recent years. The principle behind IMS is the separation and characterization of chemical species based on differences in the migration speed of their gas-phase ions under an electric field. As this technology has the advantages of miniaturization, easy operation, and quick responses, it is widely used in food and drug quality testing, as well as other related fields. However, it is rarely used in cosmetic detection, likely because the cosmetics matrix is highly complex, which can interfere with ion determination. Thus, optimizing the pretreatment process of cosmetics for IMS is important. In this work, solid-phase extraction (SPE) is combined with IMS to establish a method for the rapid screening of 14 antibacterial drugs in anti-acne cosmetics. The IMS detection parameters, sample extraction conditions, and SPE clean-up conditions (SPE column, type of leachate, type and volume of eluent) were studied and optimized in detail. The sample was extracted with 80%(v/v) acetonitrile aqueous solution (containing 0.2% (mass fraction) trichloroacetic acid), loaded onto an activated Oasis® MCX SPE column, leached with 3.0 mL of methanol, and eluted with 1.0 mL of 2% ammonia methanol solution. The eluate was then directly injected into the IMS instrument. The IMS parameters were as follows: positive ion source voltage=2200 V, transfer tube voltage=8000 V, inlet temperature=180 ℃, transfer tube temperature=180 ℃, ion gate voltage=50 V, gate voltage pulse width=85 μs, and migration gas flow rate=1.2 L/min. The migration times for the 14 antibacterial drugs ranged from 11 to 17 ms, and the detection limits for the target compounds ranged from 0.2 to 1.2 μg/g. Owing to the narrow linear range of IMS, a quantitative method employing HPLC was also established to optimize the SPE pretreatment step and verify the positive samples. Chromatographic separation was conducted on a Phenomenex Luna C18 column (250 mm×4.6 mm, 5 μm), with a column flow rate of 1.0 mL/min and gradient elution with mobile phases A (0.01 mol/L potassium dihydrogen phosphate adjusted to pH 4.0 with phosphoric acid) and B (acetonitrile). The column temperature was set to 35 ℃, and the injection volume was fixed at 5 μL. A total of 25 cosmetics samples were screened, and one positive sample was found to be consistent with the results of HPLC. The proposed method is fast, simple, and efficient, and it can be used for the rapid screening of the 14 antibacterial drugs in anti-acne cosmetics. Pretreatment can significantly reduce the influence of the cosmetic matrices on the determination results, improve instrument sensitivity, and effectively decrease the occurrence rate of false positives and negatives. The technique developed in this work can improve the efficiency of screening for illegally added chemicals and expand the applications of IMS for detecting various chemicals in complex matrices, such as cosmetics.

Key words: solid-phase extraction (SPE), ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), antibacterial drugs, anti-acne cosmetics, rapid screening

CLC Number: