Class targeted metabolomics: ESI ion trap screening methods for glucosinolates based on MSn fragmentation Academic Article uri icon


  • Glucosinolates are naturally occurring anionic secondary plant metabolites incorporating a thioglucosidic link to the carbon of a sulphonated oxime. There are a large number of naturally occurring glucosinolates and they are found in relatively large quantities in many plant species within the family Crucifereae. These metabolites are of interest for both their anticancer and flavour properties and in the study of nitrogen and sulphur metabolism in model plants such as Arabidopsis. Parent ion mapping is an analytical mass spectrometry approach that allows rapid assessment of glucosinolate content. Ion mapping proved to be highly sensitive and the glucosinolate sinigrin could be detected at three parts per trillion. This method takes advantage of the glucosinolate anion fragmentation which consistently produces a sulphonate ring-opened glucose moiety in the ion trap mass spectrometer, m/z 259. An intramolecular transfer mechanism for this fragmentation is presented here for the first time. This fragmentation can be exploited as a general identifier of the glucosinolate class of metabolites in plant extracts and in LCMSn can be employed provide positive identification and quantification of individual glucosinolates. Such approaches offer sensitive tools for focused metabolomics analysis and screening of plant breeding lines.

publication date

  • May 2008