Identification of Phenolic Compounds from Peanut Skin using HPLC-MSn
Consumers view natural antioxidants as a safe means to reduce spoilage in foods. In addition, these compounds have been reported to be responsible for human health benefits. Identification of these compounds in peanut skins may enhance consumer interest, improve sales, and increase the value of peanuts. This study evaluated analytical methods which have not been previously incorporated for the analysis of peanut skins. Toyopearl size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) was used for separating phenolic size-classes in raw methanolic extract from skins of Gregory peanuts. This allowed for an enhanced analysis of phenolic content and antioxidant activity based on compound classes, and provided a viable preparatory separation technique for further identification. Toyopearl SEC of raw methanolic peanut skin extract produced nine fractions based on molecular size. Analysis of total phenolics in these fractions indicated Gregory peanut skins contain high concentrations of phenolic compounds. Further studies revealed the fractions contained compounds which exhibited antioxidant activities that were significantly higher than that of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), a common synthetic antioxidant used in the food industry. This indicates peanut skin extracts are a viable antioxidant source, and that synthetic antioxidants can be replaced with those naturally-derived from peanut by-products. Structures contained in each fraction were identified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with electrospray ionization (ESI) ion trap mass spectrometry (MSn). Prior to this study, approximately 20 compounds have been identified in peanut skins. The combination of Toyopearl SEC with ESI-HPLC-MSn allowed for the identification of 314 phenolic-based compounds, most of which are newly discovered compounds in peanut skins. Many compounds identified are known to have powerful antioxidant effects, and also have been reported to exhibit numerous beneficial chemical and biological activities, including the treatment of various human health-related conditions. It is evident that peanut skins may be a potential untapped source for the extraction of natural food antioxidants, nutracueticals, and even pharmaceuticals. Because peanut skins are largely a wasted resource to peanut processors, the novel polyphenols identified in this research could have a significant financial impact on the peanut industry.