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Concept: Chromatography


This paper describes the design of a new instrumental technique, Gas Chromatography Recomposition-Olfactometry (GC-R), that adapts the reconstitution technique used in flavor chemistry studies by extracting volatiles from a sample by headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME), separating the extract on a capillary GC column, and recombining individual compounds selectively as they elute off of the column into a mixture for sensory analysis (Figure 1). Using the chromatogram of a mixture as a map, the GC-R instrument allows the operator to “cut apart” and recombine the components of the mixture at will, selecting compounds, peaks, or sections based on retention time to include or exclude in a reconstitution for sensory analysis. Selective recombination is accomplished with the installation of a Deans Switch directly in-line with the column, which directs compounds either to waste or to a cryotrap at the operator’s discretion. This enables the creation of, for example, aroma reconstitutions incorporating all of the volatiles in a sample, including instrumentally undetectable compounds as well those present at concentrations below sensory thresholds, thus correcting for the “reconstitution discrepancy” sometimes noted in flavor chemistry studies. Using only flowering lavender (Lavandula angustifola ‘Hidcote Blue’) as a source for volatiles, we used the instrument to build mixtures of subsets of lavender volatiles in-instrument and characterized their aroma qualities with a sensory panel. We showed evidence of additive, masking, and synergistic effects in these mixtures and of “lavender' aroma character as an emergent property of specific mixtures. This was accomplished without the need for chemical standards, reductive aroma models, or calculation of Odor Activity Values, and is broadly applicable to any aroma or flavor.

Concepts: Mixture, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Gas chromatography, Chemical compound, Solid phase microextraction, Separation process


An unknown vitamin D compound was observed in the HPLC-UV chromatogram of edible mushrooms in the course of analyzing vitamin D(2) as part of a food composition study and confirmed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to be vitamin D(4) (22-dihydroergocalciferol). Vitamin D(4) was quantified by HPLC with UV detection, with vitamin [(3)H] itamin D(3) as an internal standard. White button, crimini, portabella, enoki, shiitake, maitake, oyster, morel, chanterelle, and UV-treated portabella mushrooms were analyzed, as four composites each of a total of 71 samples from U.S. retail suppliers and producers. Vitamin D(4) was present (>0.1 µg/100 g) in a total of 18 composites and in at least one composite of each mushroom type except white button. The level was highest in samples with known UV exposure: vitamin D enhanced portabella, and maitake mushrooms from one supplier (0.2-7.0 and 22.5-35.4 µg/100 g, respectively). Other mushrooms had detectable vitamin D(4) in some but not all samples. In one composite of oyster mushrooms the vitamin D(4) content was more than twice that of D(2) (6.29 vs. 2.59 µg/100 g). Vitamin D(4) exceeded 2 µg/100 g in the morel and chanterelle mushroom samples that contained D(4), but was undetectable in two morel samples. The vitamin D(4) precursor 22,23-dihydroergosterol was found in all composites (4.49-16.5 mg/100 g). Vitamin D(4) should be expected to occur in mushrooms exposed to UV light, such as commercially produced vitamin D enhanced products, wild grown mushrooms or other mushrooms receiving incidental exposure. Because vitamin D(4) coeluted with D(3) in the routine HPLC analysis of vitamin D(2) and an alternate mobile phase was necessary for resolution, researchers analyzing vitamin D(2) in mushrooms and using D(3) as an internal standard should verify that the system will resolve vitamins D(3) and D(4).

Concepts: Vitamin D, Ultraviolet, Fungus, Chromatography, Mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, Edible mushroom, Edible fungi


Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) III has 4 enzymatically distinct forms (A, B, C, and D), and MPS IIIC, also known as Sanfilippo C syndrome, is an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease caused by a deficiency of heparan acetyl-CoA:alpha-glucosaminide N-acetyltransferase (HGSNAT). Here, we report a case of MPS IIIC that was confirmed by molecular genetic analysis. The patient was a 2-yr-old girl presenting with skeletal deformity, hepatomegaly, and delayed motor development. Urinary excretion of glycosaminoglycan (GAG) was markedly elevated (984.4 mg GAG/g creatinine) compared with the age-specific reference range (<175 mg GAG/g creatinine), and a strong band of heparan sulfate was recognized on performing thin layer chromatography. HGSNAT enzyme activity in leukocytes was 0.7 nmol/17 hr/mg protein, which was significantly lower than the reference range (8.6-32 nmol/17 hr/mg protein). PCR and direct sequencing of the HGSNAT gene showed 2 mutations: c.234+1G>A (IVS2+1G>A) and c.1150C>T (p.Arg384(*)). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of MPS IIIC to be confirmed by clinical, biochemical, and molecular genetic findings in Korea.

Concepts: DNA, Molecular biology, Metabolism, Enzyme, Lysosomal storage disease, Chromatography, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Sanfilippo syndrome


BACKGROUND: The tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus is the species with the largest worldwide distribution and is proven to be involved in the transmission of pathogens such as Babesia canis, Ehrlichia canis, Coxiella burnetii, Rickettsia ricketsii, Rickettsia conorii, among others. Studies have demonstrated acquisition of resistance to some of the active principles used in commercial formulations of acaricides. Tagetes patula (Asteraceae) is a plant with highlighted economic and commercial importance due to the production of secondary metabolites with insecticide and acaricide potential, mainly flavonoids, thiophenes and terpenes. METHODS: The in vitro acaricide action of the ethanolic 70% extract from aerial parts of T. patula, obtained by percolation, was evaluated against larvae and engorged adult females of Rhipicephalus sanguineus by immersion test for 5 minutes. The chemical characterization of this extract was done by liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS), using direct injection of sample. RESULTS: Despite T. patula not proving lethal to adults in any of the concentrations tested, at 50.0 mg/mL oviposition rate decreased by 21.5% and eliminated 99.78% of the larvae. Also it was determined that the best results were obtained with 5 minutes of immersion. From the chromatographic analysis twelve O-glycosylated flavonoids were identified. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report on the acaricidal activity of T. patula extract against Rh. sanguineus. If we consider the application of the product in the environment, we could completely eliminate the larval stage of development of the ixodid Rh. sanguineus.

Concepts: Larva, Coxiella burnetii, Q fever, Chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Asteraceae, Tagetes patula


BACKGROUND: MultiAlign is a free software tool that aligns multiple liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry datasets to one another by clustering mass and chromatographic elution features across datasets. Applicable to both label-free proteomics and metabolomics comparative analyses, the software can be operated in several modes. For example, clustered features can be matched to a reference database to identify analytes, used to generate abundance profiles, linked to tandem mass spectra based on parent precursor masses, and culled for targeted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric analysis. MultiAlign is also capable of tandem mass spectral clustering to describe proteome structure and find similarity in subsequent sample runs. RESULTS: MultiAlign was applied to two large proteomics datasets obtained from liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses of environmental samples. Peptides in the datasets for a microbial community that had a known metagenome were identified by matching mass and elution time features to those in an established reference peptide database. Results compared favorably with those obtained using existing tools such as VIPER, but with the added benefit of being able to trace clusters of peptides across conditions to existing tandem mass spectra. MultiAlign was further applied to detect clusters across experimental samples derived from a reactor biomass community for which no metagenome was available. Several clusters were culled for further analysis to explore changes in the community structure. Lastly, MultiAlign was applied to liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based datasets obtained from a previously published study of wild type and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation enzyme knockdown mutants of human hepatocarcinoma to demonstrate its utility for analyzing metabolomics datasets. CONCLUSION: MultiAlign is an efficient software package for finding similar analytes across multiple liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry feature maps, as demonstrated here for both proteomics and metabolomics experiments. The software is particularly useful for proteomic studies where little or no genomic context is known, such as with environmental proteomics.

Concepts: Protein, Mass spectrometry, Genomics, Fatty acid metabolism, Chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Proteomics, Functional genomics


Much physiological and behavioral evidence has been provided suggesting that insect Odorant Binding Proteins (OBPs) are indispensable for odorant recognition and thus appealing targets for structure-based discovery and design of novel host-seeking disruptors. Despite the fact that more than 60 putative OBP-encoding genes have been identified in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, the crystal structures of only six of them are known. It is therefore clear that OBP structure determination constitutes the bottle-neck for structure-based approaches to mosquito repellent/attractant discovery. Here, we describe the three dimensional structure of an Anopheles gambiae “Plus-C” group OBP, AgamOBP48, which exhibits the second highest expression levels in female antennae. This structure represents the first example of a 3D domain-swapped dimer in dipteran species. A combined binding site is formed at the dimer interface by equal contribution of each monomer. Structural comparisons with the monomeric AgamOBP47 revealed that the major structural difference between the two “Plus-C” proteins localizes in their N- and C-terminal regions and their concerted conformational change may account for monomer-swapped dimer conversion and, furthermore, the formation of novel binding pockets. Using a combination of gel filtration chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry and analytical ultracentrifugation, we demonstrate the AgamOBP48 dimerization in solution. Eventually, molecular modelling calculations were used to predict the binding mode of the most potent synthetic ligand of AgamOBP48 known so far, discovered by ligand- and structure-based virtual screening. The structure-aided identification of multiple OBP-binders represents a powerful tool to be employed in the effort to control the vector-borne diseases transmission.

Concepts: Protein, Molecular biology, Malaria, Polymer, Chromatography, Dimer, Monomer, Differential scanning calorimetry


Despite recent advances in understanding mechanism of toxicity, the development of biomarkers (biochemicals that vary significantly with exposure to chemicals) for pesticides and environmental contaminants exposure is still a challenging task. Carbofuran is one of the most commonly used pesticides in agriculture and said to be most toxic carbamate pesticide. It is necessary to identify the biochemicals that can vary significantly after carbofuran exposure on earthworms which will help to assess the soil ecotoxicity. Initially, we have optimized the extraction conditions which are suitable for high-throughput gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based metabolomics for the tissue of earthworm, Metaphire posthuma. Upon evaluation of five different extraction solvent systems, 80% methanol was found to have good extraction efficiency based on the yields of metabolites, multivariate analysis, total number of peaks and reproducibility of metabolites. Later the toxicity evaluation was performed to characterize the tissue specific metabolomic perturbation of earthworm, Metaphire posthuma after exposure to carbofuran at three different concentration levels (0.15, 0.3 and 0.6 mg/kg of soil). Seventeen metabolites, contributing to the best classification performance of highest dose dependent carbofuran exposed earthworms from healthy controls were identified. This study suggests that GC-MS based metabolomic approach was precise and sensitive to measure the earthworm responses to carbofuran exposure in soil, and can be used as a promising tool for environmental eco-toxicological studies.

Concepts: Metabolism, Toxicology, Chromatography, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Metabolomics, Earthworm, Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


Phenylcarbamate derivatives of amylose and β-cyclodextrin show excellent chiral recognition when used as chiral stationary phases (CSPs) for high-performance liquid chromatography. To open up new possibilities of carbohydrate-based materials, we developed chiral fluorescent sensors based on amylose and β-cyclodextrin (Am-1b and CyD-1b, respectively) by attaching fluorescent π-conjugated units on their side chains. Their recognition abilities toward chiral analytes containing a nitrophenyl unit were evaluated by measuring the enantioselective fluorescence quenching behavior. Both sensors showed the same degree of enantioselective fluorescence response for various aromatic nitro compounds. However, in some cases, their enantioselectivities were different depending on the analytes. The difference in the chiral recognition abilities between Am-1b and CyD-1b seems to be based on the structural difference of their inherent backbones, that is, the one-handed helical structure and cyclic structure, respectively. The study on the resolution ability of the Am-1b-based CSP revealed that the terthienyl-based pendant of Am-1b provides not only a fluorescent functionality but also a different chiral recognition site from that of amylose tris(phenylcarbamate).

Concepts: Fluorescence, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Units of measurement, Nitro compound, Quenching, Reduction of nitro compounds, Pendant


Urine has long been a “favored” biofluid among metabolomics researchers. It is sterile, easy-to-obtain in large volumes, largely free from interfering proteins or lipids and chemically complex. However, this chemical complexity has also made urine a particularly difficult substrate to fully understand. As a biological waste material, urine typically contains metabolic breakdown products from a wide range of foods, drinks, drugs, environmental contaminants, endogenous waste metabolites and bacterial by-products. Many of these compounds are poorly characterized and poorly understood. In an effort to improve our understanding of this biofluid we have undertaken a comprehensive, quantitative, metabolome-wide characterization of human urine. This involved both computer-aided literature mining and comprehensive, quantitative experimental assessment/validation. The experimental portion employed NMR spectroscopy, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), direct flow injection mass spectrometry (DFI/LC-MS/MS), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) experiments performed on multiple human urine samples. This multi-platform metabolomic analysis allowed us to identify 445 and quantify 378 unique urine metabolites or metabolite species. The different analytical platforms were able to identify (quantify) a total of: 209 (209) by NMR, 179 (85) by GC-MS, 127 (127) by DFI/LC-MS/MS, 40 (40) by ICP-MS and 10 (10) by HPLC. Our use of multiple metabolomics platforms and technologies allowed us to identify several previously unknown urine metabolites and to substantially enhance the level of metabolome coverage. It also allowed us to critically assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of different platforms or technologies. The literature review led to the identification and annotation of another 2206 urinary compounds and was used to help guide the subsequent experimental studies. An online database containing the complete set of 2651 confirmed human urine metabolite species, their structures (3079 in total), concentrations, related literature references and links to their known disease associations are freely available at

Concepts: Metabolism, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Metabolite, Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, Metabolomics, Metabolome


Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of postneonatal infant mortality, likely comprises heterogeneous disorders with the common phenotype of sudden death without explanation upon postmortem investigation. Previously, we reported that ∼40% of SIDS deaths are associated with abnormalities in serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) in regions of the brainstem critical in homeostatic regulation. Here we tested the hypothesis that SIDS is associated with an alteration in serum 5-HT levels. Serum 5-HT, adjusted for postconceptional age, was significantly elevated (95%) in SIDS infants (n = 61) compared with autopsied controls (n = 15) [SIDS, 177.2 ± 15.1 (mean ± SE) ng/mL versus controls, 91.1 ± 30.6 ng/mL] (P = 0.014), as determined by ELISA. This increase was validated using high-performance liquid chromatography. Thirty-one percent (19/61) of SIDS cases had 5-HT levels greater than 2 SDs above the mean of the controls, thus defining a subset of SIDS cases with elevated 5-HT. There was no association between genotypes of the serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphism and serum 5-HT level. This study demonstrates that SIDS is associated with peripheral abnormalities in the 5-HT pathway. High serum 5-HT may serve as a potential forensic biomarker in autopsied infants with SIDS with serotonergic defects.

Concepts: Death, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Infant mortality, Serotonin, Sudden infant death syndrome, Infancy, 5-HTTLPR