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High-throughput determination of dissolved free amino acids in unconcentrated freshwater by ion-pairing liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry


Horňák, Karel; Schmidheiny, Helen; Pernthaler, Jakob (2016). High-throughput determination of dissolved free amino acids in unconcentrated freshwater by ion-pairing liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography. A, 1440:85-93.

Abstract

We developed a procedure for the direct determination of dissolved free amino acids (DFAAs) in freshwater samples employing ion-pairing liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Our approach allowed accurate quantification of subnanomolar concentrations of DFAAs without prior concentration, derivatization or sample clean-up steps, achieving a throughput of three samples per hour. DFAAs were separated on a C-18 resin using tridecafluoroheptanoic acid as an ion-pairing agent controlling the overall retention. The relative standard deviation of DFAA measurements was <10% in samples from the mesotrophic Lake Zurich (Switzerland), and across concentrations of 0.5-500nM. Recoveries of DFAAs ranged from 94 to 102% within the range of 0.2-10nM. The limits of quantification for individual DFAAs varied between 50pM to 2nM (median, 0.5nM). The new method was employed to compare the spatial variability of DFAA concentrations in samples obtained by two devices. Epilimnetic samples of different size (ml, l) were collected at various spatial scales (cm, m, km) with a traditional 5l Friedinger sampler and with a custom-made multi-syringe sampling apparatus. Concentrations of total DFAAs ranged from 30 to 330nM. Alanine, serine, glutamic acid, arginine and glycine constituted 65% of the total pool, while methionine and tryptophan occurred at sub-nM concentrations only. Concentrations of individual DFAAs varied spatially over 2 orders of magnitude. Their spatial distribution was positively skewed, as characterized by rare peaks, most strongly so for glutamate, glycine and asparagine. The composition of DFAAs significantly differed at all examined spatial scales, and this could be mainly attributed to alanine, aspartic acid, and glycine. Our new method equals or outperforms existing ones in terms of sensitivity and reproducibility, while its procedural simplicity renders it superior for the high-throughput analysis of freshwater samples.

Abstract

We developed a procedure for the direct determination of dissolved free amino acids (DFAAs) in freshwater samples employing ion-pairing liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Our approach allowed accurate quantification of subnanomolar concentrations of DFAAs without prior concentration, derivatization or sample clean-up steps, achieving a throughput of three samples per hour. DFAAs were separated on a C-18 resin using tridecafluoroheptanoic acid as an ion-pairing agent controlling the overall retention. The relative standard deviation of DFAA measurements was <10% in samples from the mesotrophic Lake Zurich (Switzerland), and across concentrations of 0.5-500nM. Recoveries of DFAAs ranged from 94 to 102% within the range of 0.2-10nM. The limits of quantification for individual DFAAs varied between 50pM to 2nM (median, 0.5nM). The new method was employed to compare the spatial variability of DFAA concentrations in samples obtained by two devices. Epilimnetic samples of different size (ml, l) were collected at various spatial scales (cm, m, km) with a traditional 5l Friedinger sampler and with a custom-made multi-syringe sampling apparatus. Concentrations of total DFAAs ranged from 30 to 330nM. Alanine, serine, glutamic acid, arginine and glycine constituted 65% of the total pool, while methionine and tryptophan occurred at sub-nM concentrations only. Concentrations of individual DFAAs varied spatially over 2 orders of magnitude. Their spatial distribution was positively skewed, as characterized by rare peaks, most strongly so for glutamate, glycine and asparagine. The composition of DFAAs significantly differed at all examined spatial scales, and this could be mainly attributed to alanine, aspartic acid, and glycine. Our new method equals or outperforms existing ones in terms of sensitivity and reproducibility, while its procedural simplicity renders it superior for the high-throughput analysis of freshwater samples.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 07:33
Last Modified:13 Feb 2017 07:39
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0021-9673
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2016.02.045
PubMed ID:26936042

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