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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2009, Article ID 530639, 9 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of Fructooligosaccharides and Inulins as Potentially Health Benefiting Food Ingredients by HPAEC-PED and MALDI-TOF MS

Dipartimento di Chimica Generale ed Inorganica, Chimica Analitica, Chimica Fisica, Università di Parma, Viale Usberti 17/a, 43100 Parma, Italy

Received 31 July 2008; Accepted 6 January 2009

Academic Editor: Günther K. Bonn

Copyright © 2009 Chiara Borromei et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes the complementarity of high-performance anion exchange chromatography coupled with pulsed electrochemical detection (HPAEC-PED) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) to evaluate commercial available fructans (fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulins), having different degrees of polymerization (DP) which are usually employed by food industry as functional ingredients either for their prebiotic properties or as a fat replacer, giving a fat-like mouth feel and texture. The developed HPAEC-PED methods are able to analyze FOS (fructans with DP 3–10) and inulins (DP ranging from 3 to 80) with a good resolution and relatively short retention times to evaluate structural differences between fructooligosaccharide and inulins and the possible presence of inulooligosaccharides as well as of branching. To characterize FOS and inulin at different degrees of polymerization and to assure correct molecular assignment, MALDI-TOF MS analysis was also investigated. The 2,5-dihydroxy benzoic acid (2,5-DHB) was found to be the best matrix for FOS analysis as Actilight and Raftilose P95 products, while 3-aminoquinoline (3-AQ) seems to be the best matrix for inulin with higher DP. The applicability of the optimized methods to the identification and determination of FOS contained in a symbiotic milk as well as a type of inulin added as functional ingredient to a cooked ham is demonstrated.