Chromatographic column evaluation for the untargeted profiling of glucosinolates in cauliflower by means of ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry
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The untargeted profiling is a promising approach for the characterization of secondary metabolites in biological matrices. Thanks to the recent rapid development of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) instrumentations, the number of applications by untargeted approaches for biological samples profiling has widely increased in the recent years. Despite the high potentialities of HRMS, however, a major issue in natural products analysis often arises in the upstream process of compounds separation. A separation technique is necessary to avoid phenomena such as signal suppression, and it is especially needed in the presence of isomeric metabolites, which are otherwise indistinguishable. Glucosinolates (GLSs), a group of secondary metabolites widely distributed among plants, resulted to be associated to the prevention of some serious diseases, such as cancer. This led to the development of several methods for the analysis of GLSs in vegetables tissues. The issue of GLSs chromatographic separation has been widely studied in the past because of the difficulty in the analysis of this highly polar and variable class of compounds. Several alternatives to reversed phase (RP) chromatography, sometimes not compatible with the coupling of liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry, have been tested for the analysis of intact GLSs. However, the availability of new stationary phases, in the last years, could allow the re-evaluation of RP chromatography for the analysis of intact GLSs. In this work, a thorough evaluation of four RP chromatographic columns for the analysis of GLSs in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis) extracts by an ultra-high performance liquid chromatographic system coupled via electrospray source to a hybrid quadrupole-Orbitrap mass spectrometer is presented. The columns tested were the following: one column Luna Omega polar C18, one column Kinetex Biphenyl, one column Kinetex core-shell XB-C18, two columns Kinetex core-shell XB-C18. After a previous optimization of the extraction method, cauliflower extracts were analyzed testing four different mobile phases onto the four columns for a total of sixteen different chromatographic conditions. The chromatographic systems were evaluated based on the number of detected and tentatively identified GLSs. Luna Polar stationary phase resulted to be the most suitable for the analysis of GLSs compared to Kinetex XB and Kinetex Biphenyl columns stationary phase. However, two in series Kinetex XB columns increased the number of tentatively identified GLSs compared to one Kinetex XB, showing the importance of column length in the analysis of complex mixtures. The data obtained with the best chromatographic system were deeply analyzed by MS/MS investigation for the final identification. Fiflty-one GLSs were tentatively identified, 24 of which have never been identified in cauliflower. Finally the linearity of the analytes response over the analyzed range of concentration was checked, suggesting that the developed method is suitable for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of GLSs in phytochemical mixtures.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2018|
- Cauliflower, Columns evaluation, Glucosinolates, High resolution mass spectrometry, Untargeted profiling