Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry with 2D retention indices for analysis of volatile compounds in frankincense (Boswellia papyrifera)

Ming Jiang, Chadin Kulsing, Philip J. Marriott

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Frankincense gum resin secreted from Boswellia papyrifera was analysed by comprehensive 2D gas chromatography hyphenated with accurate mass time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC−accTOFMS). Direct multiple injection experiments with stepwise isothermal temperature programming were then performed to construct isovolatility curves for reference alkane series in GC×GC. This provides access to calculation of second dimensional retention indices (2I). More than 500 peaks were detected and 220 compounds mainly comprising monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes and oxygenated forms of these compounds were identified according to their 1I, 2I and accurate mass data. The study demonstrates the capability of GC×GC−accTOFMS with retention data on two separate column phases, as an approach for improved component identification. A greater number of identified and/or tentatively identified terpenoids in this traditional Chinese medicine allow for a more comprehensive coverage of the volatile composition of frankincense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3185–3196
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • 2D index calculation
  • 2D retention structure
  • Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography
  • Exact mass TOFMS
  • Isovolatility
  • Second dimension retention index

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