Discovery of species-specific peptide markers and development of quality-evaluation strategies for deer horn gelatin using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and a label-free methodology

Wang, Bing, et al. “Discovery of Species-Specific Peptide Markers and Development of Quality-Evaluation Strategies for Deer Horn Gelatin Using Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry and a Label-Free Methodology.” Journal of Chromatography A (2023): 464153.


Deer horn gelatin (DHG) is a valuable nutritional dietary supplement. Due to the significant variation in the price of DHG from different sources, it is important to assess its quality and to clarify the species of its raw material. However, due to the similarity in appearance and physicochemical properties, as well as the destruction of genetic material during the manufacturing process, it is difficult to distinguish DHG from gelatin derived from other sources. Furthermore, current methods are unable to evaluate the overall quality of DHG. Using Nano LC-Orbitrap MS and data analysis software, DHG samples from five deer species were analyzed to identify peptide markers specific to alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein (AHSG) and collagen. The peptide markers were validated using HPLC-Triple Quadrupole MS, and strategies for assessing the quality of DHG were developed. Eighteen peptide markers were discovered, comprising peptides with differing specificities. Three strategies for the identification, characteristic mapping, and content determination of DHG were developed. These strategies can be used to assess the quality of deer gelatin.