Multiple heart-cutting two dimensional liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry of pyrrolizidine alkaloids

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Abstract

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) and their and the corresponding N-oxides (PAs-ox) are genotoxic plant metabolites which can be present as unwanted contaminants in food products of herbal origin like tea and food supplements. PAs and PAs-ox come in a wide variety of molecular structures including many structural isomers. For toxicity assessment it is important to determine the composition of a sample and to resolve all isomeric PAs and PAs-ox, which is currently not possible in one liquid or gas chromatographic (LC or GC) run. In this study an online two dimensional liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (2D-LC QToF-MS) method was developed to resolve isomeric PAs and PAs-ox. After comprehensive column and mobile phase selection a polar endcapped C18 column was used at pH 3 in the first dimension, and a cross-linked C18 column at pH 10 in the second dimension. Injection solvents, column IDs, flow rates and temperatures were carefully optimized. The method with column selection valve switching described in this study was able to resolve and visualize 20 individual PAs/PAs-ox (6 sets of isomers) in one 2D-LC QToF-MS run. Moreover, it was shown that all isomeric PAs/PAs-ox could be unambiguously annotated. The method was shown to be applicable for the determination and quantification of isomeric PAs/PAs-ox in plant extracts and could be easily extended to include other PAs and PAs-ox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
JournalJournal of Chromatography. A, Including electrophoresis and other separation methods
Volume1503
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Isomeric pyrrolizidine alkaloids
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Multiple heart-cutting 2D-LC
  • Two dimensional liquid chromatography

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