Extraction efficiency and quantification of dissolved metabolites in targeted marine metabolomics
Johnson, Winifred M.
Kido Soule, Melissa C.
Kujawinski, Elizabeth B.
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The field of metabolomics seeks to characterize the suite of small molecules that comprise the end-products of cellular regulation. Metabolomics has been used in biomedical applications as well as environmental studies that explore ecological and biogeochemical questions. We have developed a targeted metabolomics method using electrospray ionization–liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to analyze metabolites dissolved in seawater. Preparation of samples from the marine environment presents challenges because dilute metabolites must be concentrated and desalted. We present the extraction efficiencies of 89 metabolites in our targeted method using solid phase extraction (SPE). In addition, we calculate the limits of detection and quantification for the metabolites in the method and compare the instrument response factors in five different matrices ranging from deionized water to spent medium from cultured marine microbes. High background organic matter content reduces the instrument response factor for only a small group of metabolites, yet enhances the extraction efficiency for other metabolites on the SPE cartridge used here, a modified styrene-divinylbenzene polymer called PPL. Aromatic or larger uncharged compounds, in particular, are reproducibly well retained on the PPL polymer. This method is suitable for the detection of dissolved metabolites in marine samples, with limits of detection ranging from < 1 pM to ∼ 2 nM dependent on the dual impacts of seawater matrix on extraction efficiency and on instrument response factors.
© The Author(s), 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 15 (2017): 417–428, doi:10.1002/lom3.10181.
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