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Location: TNF-Tower

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Natural Product Analysis

Extracts of natural materials can be very complex mixtures and often different parts of the plant (leaves, seeds, fruits, bark) show different compounds and distributions. In order to separate and detect these plant ingredients high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) in combination with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) is required. The analytical methods for extraction, separation and HRMS detection have to be optimized for different plants depending on the polarity of the compounds and the complexity of the extracts.

The optimized analytical methods are used to:

• Characterize plant ingredient patterns to assign the origin and compare different parts of the plant
• Reveal adulteration and fraud
• Identify and quantify plant compounds – toxic compounds are the main targets
• Analyze the fate of toxic substance in animals which feed from toxic plants – can these animals detoxify the compounds?

Clinical Analysis

The foundation of a Medical Faculty at JKU triggered increased interest in clinically relevant topics also at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry. Main goals of present and future cooperation with the institutions of the “Kepler University Clinic” are the joint development of analytical techniques for use in medical research and clinical diagnostics.

Analytical methods for clinically relevant questions developed at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry comprise (amongst others):

• HPLC-MS and HPLC-MS2 methods for the analysis of drugs in body fluids
• GC-MS methods with sophisticated sample pretreatment procedures for clinical analysis
• Use of Capillary Zone Electrophoresis hyphenated to high-resolution MS for use in clinical research
• ……….

Analysis of Polymer Additives

Plastic products are part of our daily life. To enhance the quality of polymer products, base polymers (polypropylene, polyethylene, polyethylterephthalate, polycarbonate, polystyrene…) have to be supplemented by additives. One important subgroup of these additives are stabilizers, employed to achieve sufficient durability of the polymer against environmental influences like UV-radiation, heat, or oxidative atmosphere.

We develop analytical methods to characterize and determine these stabilizers for:

• Quality control of polymer products
• Ageing studies of polymer products
• Investigations on product failure
• Development of new, more effective additives
• ……….

Environmental Analysis

The use of pharmaceuticals in human and in veterinary medicine has increased continuously over the last decades. A negative side effect of this development is the fact that pharmaceutically active ingredients (AI´s) have found their way into the aquatic system. Common sources for water contamination by AI´s are incomplete uptake by the human body (so still active substances are excreted), drug containing gels and lotions (which are externally applied and washed off during personal hygiene), and unfortunately also improper disposal of pharmaceuticals. Although contaminated municipal wastewater is treated in wastewater treatment plants, most of these substances cannot be removed completely. If such water is used for irrigation in agriculture, plants come into direct contact with these AI´s. Therefore uptake and metabolism by plants may occur representing a potential risk for consumers if edible plants are affected.

Within this field the main focus of our investigations is set on:

• Development of analytical methods for determining drugs and drug related products in plants
• Investigations on the metabolization of drugs in plants and detection of metabolites at trace levels
• Elucidation of the corresponding metabolic processes and establishing of a scheme of drug-metabolization in plants