One-pot microwave derivatization of target compounds relevant to metabolomics with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography
Metabolomics has been defined as the quantitative measurement of all low molecular weight metabolites (sugars, amino acids, organic acids, fatty acids and others) in an organism's cells at a specified time under specific environmental/biological conditions. Currently, there is considerable interest in developing a single method of derivatization and separation that satisfies the needs for metabolite analysis while recognizing the many chemical classes that constitute the metabolome. Chemical derivatization considerably increases the sensitivity and specificity of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for compounds that are polar and have derivatizable groups. Microwave-assisted derivatization (MAD) of a set of standards spanning a wide range of metabolites of interest demonstrates the potential of MAD for metabolic profiling. A final protocol of 150 W power for 90 s was selected as the derivatization condition, based upon the study of each chemical class. A study of the generation of partially derivatized components established the conditions where this could potentially be a problem; the use of greater volumes of reagent ensured this would not arise. All compounds analyzed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry in a standard mixture showed good area ratio reproducibility against a naphthalene internal standard (RSD < 10% in all but one case). Concentrations tested ranged from 1 Î¼g/mL to 1000 Î¼g/mL, and the calibration curves for the standard mixtures were satisfactory with regression coefficients generally better than 0.998. The application to gas chromatography–quadrupole mass spectrometry and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry for a typical reference standard of relevance to metabolomics is demonstrated.