Combined use of tandem mass spectrometry and computational chemistry to study 2H‐chromenes from Piper aduncum


Souza, Amauri Alves 1 ;  Vessecchi, Ricardo 2 ;  Castro‐Gamboa, Ian 1 ;  Furlan, Maysa 1


Natural 2H‐chromenes were isolated from the crude extract of Piper aduncum (Piperaceae) and analyzed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI‐MS/MS) applying collision‐induced dissociation. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were used to explain the preferred protonation sites of the 2H‐chromenes based on thermochemical parameters, including atomic charges, proton affinity, and gas‐phase basicity. After identifying the nucleophilic sites, the pathways were proposed to justify the formation of the diagnostic ions under ESI‐MS/MS conditions. The calculated relative energy for each pathway was in good agreement with the energy‐resolved plot obtained from ESI‐MS/MS data. Moreover, the 2H‐chromene underwent proton attachment on the prenyl moiety via a six‐membered transition state. This behavior resulted in the formation of a diagnostic ion due to 2‐methylpropene loss. These studies provide novel insights into gas‐phase dissociation for natural benzopyran compounds, indicating how reactivity is correlated to the intrinsic acid‐base equilibrium and structural aspects, including the substitution pattern on the aromatic moiety. Therefore, these results can be applied in the identification of benzopyran derivatives in a variety of biological samples.

1  Universidade Estadual Paulista‐UNESP, Instituto de Química, Rua Professor Francisco Degni, 55, Araraquara, SP 14800‐900, Brazil

2  Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040‐901, Brazil

Link to article:   https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jms.4378