Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Electrospray ionization


ABSTRACT Soils host diverse microbial communities that include filamentous actinobacteria (actinomycetes). These bacteria have been a rich source of useful metabolites, including antimicrobials, antifungals, anticancer agents, siderophores, and immunosuppressants. While humans have long exploited these compounds for therapeutic purposes, the role these natural products may play in mediating interactions between actinomycetes has been difficult to ascertain. As an initial step toward understanding these chemical interactions at a systems level, we employed the emerging techniques of nanospray desorption electrospray ionization (NanoDESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) imaging mass spectrometry to gain a global chemical view of the model bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor interacting with five other actinomycetes. In each interaction, the majority of secreted compounds associated with S. coelicolor colonies were unique, suggesting an idiosyncratic response from S. coelicolor. Spectral networking revealed a family of unknown compounds produced by S. coelicolor during several interactions. These compounds constitute an extended suite of at least 12 different desferrioxamines with acyl side chains of various lengths; their production was triggered by siderophores made by neighboring strains. Taken together, these results illustrate that chemical interactions between actinomycete bacteria exhibit high complexity and specificity and can drive differential secondary metabolite production. IMPORTANCE Actinomycetes, filamentous actinobacteria from the soil, are the deepest natural source of useful medicinal compounds, including antibiotics, antifungals, and anticancer agents. There is great interest in developing new strategies that increase the diversity of metabolites secreted by actinomycetes in the laboratory. Here we used several metabolomic approaches to examine the chemicals made by these bacteria when grown in pairwise coculture. We found that these interspecies interactions stimulated production of numerous chemical compounds that were not made when they grew alone. Among these compounds were at least 12 different versions of a molecule called desferrioxamine, a siderophore used by the bacteria to gather iron. Many other compounds of unknown identity were also observed, and the pattern of compound production varied greatly among the interaction sets. These findings suggest that chemical interactions between actinomycetes are surprisingly complex and that coculture may be a promising strategy for finding new molecules from actinomycetes.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Mass spectrometry, Molecule, Chemical compound, Electrospray ionization, Streptomyces, Actinobacteria


Thermal processes are widely used in small molecule chemical analysis and metabolomics for derivatization, vaporization, chromatography, and ionization especially in gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS). In this study the effect of heating was examined on a set of 64 small molecule standards and, separately, on human plasma metabolites. The samples, either derivatized or underivatized, were heated at three different temperatures (60, 100, and 250°C) at different exposure times (30s, 60s, and 300s). All the samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and the data processed by XCMS Online ( The results showed that heating at an elevated temperature of 100°C had an appreciable effect on both the underivatized and derivatized molecules, and heating at 250°C created substantial changes in the profile. For example, over 40% of the molecular peaks were altered in the plasma metabolite analysis after heating (250°C, 300s) with a significant formation of upregulated, degradation and transformation products. Derivatized samples were similarly affected by thermal degradation. The analysis of the 64 small molecule standards validated the temperature-induced changes observed on the plasma metabolites, where most of the small molecules degraded at elevated temperatures even after minimal exposure times (30s). For example, tri- and di-organophosphates (e.g., adenosine triphosphate and adenosine diphosphate) were readily degraded into a mono-organophosphate (e.g., adenosine monophosphate) during heating. Nucleosides and nucleotides (e.g., inosine and inosine monophosphate) were also found to be transformed into purine derivatives (e.g., hypoxanthine). A newly formed transformation product, oleoyl ethyl amide, was also identified in both the underivatized and derivatized of the plasma metabolites and small molecule standard mixture, and was likely generated from reaction(s) with oleic acid. Overall these analyses show that small molecules and metabolites undergo significant time-sensitive alterations when exposed to elevated temperatures, especially those conditions consistent with GC/MS experiments.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mass spectrometry, Chemistry, Chromatography, Electrospray ionization


Nine recently described Aspergillus species and four known species in section Versicolores were tested for their ability to produce sterigmatocystin on two liquid media, Czapek w/20 % Sucrose Broth and Yeast Extract Broth grown in the dark for 1 week at 25 °C. Detection and quantification of ST were performed by reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization ion trap mass spectrometry. Limit of detection was 3 ng/mL and limit of quantification was 10 ng/mL. Nine newly described Aspergillus species from various substrates, A. amoenus, A. creber, A. cvjetkovicii, A. fructus, A. jensenii, A. puulaauensis, A. subversicolor, A. tennesseensis and A. venenatus in section Versicolores were found to produce sterigmatocystin. Production was confirmed in recently collected isolates of A. protuberus and A. versicolor. A. austroafricanus and A. tabacinus did not produce sterigmatocystin.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Chromatography, Analytical chemistry, Detection limit, Electrospray ionization, Taylor cone, Ion source, Quadrupole ion trap


Eucalyptus species are widely cultivated in Mediterranean regions. Moreover, plants of this family have been utilized for medicinal purposes. A number of studies have been devoted to the identification of eucalypt phenolics, all of them have focused on specific families of compounds, and no exhaustive profiling has been reported in leaves of this plant.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Species, Eucalyptus, Chromatography, High performance liquid chromatography, Electrospray ionization, Fern, Kingdom


Fast MS techniques have been applied to the analysis of sulfur volatiles in Allium species and varieties to distinguish phenotypes. Headspace sampling by proton transfer reaction (PTR) MS and surface sampling by desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) MS were used to distinguish lachrymatory factor synthase (LFS)-silenced (tearless; LFS-) onions from normal, LFS active (tear-inducing; LFS+), onions. PTR-MS showed lower concentrations of the lachrymatory factor (LF, 3) and dipropyl disulfide 12 from tearless onions. DESI-MS of the tearless onions confirmed the decreased LF 3, and revealed much higher concentrations of the sulfenic acid condensates. Using DESI-MS with MS2 could distinguish zwiebelane ions from thiosulfinate ions. DESI-MS gave reliable fast phenotyping of LFS+ versus LFS- onions by simply scratching leaves and recording the extractable ions for <0.5 min. DESI-MS leaf compound profiles also allowed the rapid distinction of a variety of Allium cultivars to aid plant breeding selections.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Electrospray ionization, Taylor cone, Ion source, Electrospray, Protein mass spectrometry, Desorption electrospray ionization, Cultivar


Conventional electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) uses a capillary for sample loading and ionization. Along with the development of ambient ionization techniques, ESI-MS using noncapillary emitters has attracted more interest in recent years. Following our recent report on ESI-MS using wooden tips (Anal. Chem. 83, 8201-8207 (2011)), the technique was further investigated and extended in this study. Our results revealed that the wooden tips could serve as a chromatographic column for separation of sample components. Sequential and exhaustive ionization was observed for proteins and salts on wooden tips with salts ionized sooner and proteins later. Nonconductive materials that contain microchannels/pores could be used as tips for ESI-MS analysis with sample solutions loaded to the sharp-ends only, since rapid diffusion of sample solutions by capillary action would enable the tips to become conductive. Tips of inert materials such as bamboo, fabrics, and sponge could be used for sample loading and ionization, while samples such as tissue, mushroom, and bone could form tips to induce ionization for direct analysis with application of a high voltage. Figure.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Electrospray ionization, Taylor cone, Ion source, Electrospray, Protein mass spectrometry, John Bennett Fenn, Desorption electrospray ionization


The forensic analysis of textile fibers uses a variety of techniques from microscopy to spectroscopy. One such technique that is often used to identify the dye(s) within the fiber is mass spectrometry. In the traditional direct infusion method, the dye must be extracted from the fabric and the dye components separated by chromatography prior to mass spectrometric analysis. Direct analysis of the dye from the fabric allows the omission of the lengthy sample preparation involved in extraction, thereby significantly reducing the overall analysis time. Herein, a direct analysis of dyed textile fabric was performed using the infrared matrix-assisted laser desorption electrospray ionization (IR-MALDESI) source for mass spectrometry (MS). In MALDESI, an IR laser with wavelength tuned to 2.94 µm is used to desorb the dye from the fabric sample with the aid of water as the matrix. The desorbed dye molecules are then post-ionized by electrospray ionization. A variety of dye classes were analyzed from various fabrics with little to no sample preparation allowing for the identification of the dye mass and in some cases the fiber polymer. Those dyes that were not detected using MALDESI were also not observed using the traditional method of direct infusion.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Nylon, Electrospray ionization, Ion source, Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization, Textile, Infrared, Desorption electrospray ionization


A direct, sensitive and rapid method for the detection of smokeless powder components, from five different types of ammunition, is demonstrated using laser electrospray mass spectrometry (LEMS). Common components found in powder, such as ethyl centralite, methyl centralite, dibutyl phthalate and dimethyl phthalate, are detected under atmospheric conditions without additional sample preparation. LEMS analysis of the powders revealed several new mass spectral features that have not been identified previously. Offline principal component analysis and discrimination of the LEMS mass spectral measurements resulted in perfect classification of the smokeless powder with respect to manufacturer.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Multivariate statistics, Principal component analysis, Electrospray ionization, The Unscrambler, Plasticizers, Smokeless powder, Centralite


In this contribution we present an innovative way to easy, fast and highly sensitive analyses by capillary electrophoresis with electrospray ionization mass spectrometric (ESI-MS) detection. The new method is designed to be applied to ESI-compatible electrolytes (e.g. ammonium acetate) and offers advanced tuning of selectivity conditions within a wide range of analyte mobilities. We use a full capillary isotachophoresis (ITP) format to provide powerful on-line analyte stacking at the ITP boundary all the way to detection and introduce the model of extended ITP where a controlled concentration of the leading ion is added to the terminating zone. Such systems preserve all properties of an ITP system and the velocity of the stacking ITP boundary can be tuned by the composition of both the leading and terminating zone. In this way the system properties can be controlled flexibly and the mobility window of stacked analytes can be tailored to actual needs. The presented theory and the newly defined concept of zone-related boundary mobility allow easy assessment of system selectivity using simple diagrams. We demonstrate the model and its potential on the example of simple acidic cationic systems composed of only two substances (ammonium and acetate) including the example of thiabendazole analysis with a detection limit of 10(-10) M (20 ng/L) and its determination in orange juice by direct sampling after filtration, selective stacking by a tuned extended ITP system and ESI-MS detection.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Electrophoresis, Electrospray ionization, Taylor cone, Ion source, Electrospray, Protein mass spectrometry, John Bennett Fenn


Ambient desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (ADI-MS) is an attractive method for direct analysis with applications in homeland security, forensics, and human health. For example, low-temperature plasma probe (LTP) ionization was successfully used to detect, e.g., explosives, drugs, and pesticides directly on the target. Despite the fact that the field is gaining significant attention, few attempts have been made to classify ambient ionization techniques based on their ionization characteristics and performance compared to conventional ionization sources used in mass spectrometry. In the present study, relative ionization efficiencies (RIEs) for a large group of compound families were determined with LTP-Orbitrap-MS and compared to those obtained with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (APCI-MS). RIEs were normalized against one reference compound used across all methods to ensure comparability of the results. Typically, LTP analyte ionization through protonation/deprotonation (e.g., 4-acetamidophenol) was observed; in some cases (e.g., acenaphthene) radicals were formed. Amines, amides, and aldehydes were ionized successfully with LTP. A benefit of LTP over conventional methods is the possibility to successfully ionize PAHs and imides. Here, the studied model compounds could be detected by neither APCI nor ESI. LTP is a relatively soft ionization method because little fragmentation of model compounds was observed. It is considered to be an attractive method for the ionization of low molecular weight compounds over a relatively wide polarity range.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Electrospray ionization, Taylor cone, Ion source, Chemical ionization, Desorption electrospray ionization, Ionization, Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization