Metabolites 2011, 1(1), 3-20; doi:10.3390/metabo1010003
Article

Alkylation or Silylation for Analysis of Amino and Non-Amino Organic Acids by GC-MS?

1 Centre for Microbial Innovation, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand 2 AgResearch Limited, Grasslands Research Centre, Tennent Drive, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2010; in revised form: 11 January 2011 / Accepted: 14 January 2011 / Published: 17 January 2011
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Abstract: Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a widely used analytical technique in metabolomics. GC provides the highest resolution of any standard chromatographic separation method, and with modern instrumentation, retention times are very consistent between analyses. Electron impact ionization and fragmentation is generally reproducible between instruments and extensive libraries of spectra are available that enhance the identification of analytes. The major limitation is the restriction to volatile analytes, and hence the requirement to convert many metabolites to volatile derivatives through chemical derivatization. Here we compared the analytical performance of two derivatization techniques, silylation (TMS) and alkylation (MCF), used for the analysis of amino and non-amino organic acids as well as nucleotides in microbial-derived samples. The widely used TMS derivatization method showed poorer reproducibility and instability during chromatographic runs while the MCF derivatives presented better analytical performance. Therefore, alkylation (MCF) derivatization seems to be preferable for the analysis of polyfunctional amines, nucleotides and organic acids in microbial metabolomics studies.
Keywords: Microbial metabolomics; metabolite profiling; metabolome; derivatization; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry; chroroformates; TMS

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MDPI and ACS Style

Villas-Bôas, S.G.; Smart, K.F.; Sivakumaran, S.; Lane, G.A. Alkylation or Silylation for Analysis of Amino and Non-Amino Organic Acids by GC-MS? Metabolites 2011, 1, 3-20.

AMA Style

Villas-Bôas SG, Smart KF, Sivakumaran S, Lane GA. Alkylation or Silylation for Analysis of Amino and Non-Amino Organic Acids by GC-MS? Metabolites. 2011; 1(1):3-20.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Villas-Bôas, Silas G.; Smart, Kathleen F.; Sivakumaran, Subathira; Lane, Geoffrey A. 2011. "Alkylation or Silylation for Analysis of Amino and Non-Amino Organic Acids by GC-MS?" Metabolites 1, no. 1: 3-20.

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