Integrated quantification and identification of aldehydes and ketones in biological samples

David Siegel, Anne C Meinema, Hjalmar Permentier, Gérard Hopfgartner, Rainer Bischoff

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62 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of unknown compounds remains to be a bottleneck of mass spectrometry (MS)-based metabolomics screening experiments. Here, we present a novel approach which facilitates the identification and quantification of analytes containing aldehyde and ketone groups in biological samples by adding chemical information to MS data. Our strategy is based on rapid autosampler-in-needle-derivatization with p-toluenesulfonylhydrazine (TSH). The resulting TSH-hydrazones are separated by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and detected by electrospray ionization-quadrupole-time-of-flight (ESI-QqTOF) mass spectrometry using a SWATH (Sequential Window Acquisition of all Theoretical Fragment-Ion Spectra) data-independent high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) approach. Derivatization makes small, poorly ionizable or retained analytes amenable to reversed phase chromatography and electrospray ionization in both polarities. Negatively charged TSH-hydrazone ions furthermore show a simple and predictable fragmentation pattern upon collision induced dissociation, which enables the chemo-selective screening for unknown aldehydes and ketones via a signature fragment ion (m/z 155.0172). By means of SWATH, targeted and nontargeted application scenarios of the suggested derivatization route are enabled in the frame of a single UHPLC-ESI-QqTOF-HR-MS workflow. The method's ability to simultaneously quantify and identify molecules containing aldehyde and ketone groups is demonstrated using 61 target analytes from various compound classes and a (13)C labeled yeast matrix. The identification of unknowns in biological samples is detailed using the example of indole-3-acetaldehyde.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5089-5100
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20-May-2014


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