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Capillary electrophoresis-fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry for the identification of cationic metabolites via a pH-mediated stacking-transient isotachophoretic method

Edward E K Baidoo, Peter I Benke, Christian Neusüss, Matthias Pelzing, Gary Kruppa, Julie A Leary, Jay D Keasling
Analytical Chemistry 2008 May 1, 80 (9): 3112-22
18384203
Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) is still widely regarded as an emerging tool in the field of metabolomics and metabolite profiling. A major reason for this is a reported lack of sensitivity of CE-MS when compared to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry GC/MS and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The problems caused by the lack of sensitivity are exacerbated when CE is coupled to Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS), due to the relatively low data acquisition rate of FT-ICR MS. Here, we demonstrate the use of an online CE sample preconcentration method that uses a combination of pH-mediated stacking and transient isotachophoresis, coupled with FT-ICR MS to improve the overall detection of cationic metabolites in the bacterium Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough. This method showed a significant increase in signal-to-noise ratio when compared to CE normal sample stacking, while providing good separation efficiency, reproducibility, and linearity. Detection limits for selected amino acids were between 0.1 and 2 microM. Furthermore, FT-ICR MS detection consistently demonstrated good mass resolution and sub-ppm mass accuracy.

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