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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Two-step derivatization for determination of sugar phosphates in plants by combined reversed phase chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry

Rende, Umut; Niittylae, Totte; Moritz, Thomas


Background Sugar phosphates are important intermediates of central carbon metabolism in biological systems, with roles in glycolysis, the pentose-phosphate pathway, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and many other biosynthesis pathways. Understanding central carbon metabolism requires a simple, robust and comprehensive analytical method. However, sugar phosphates are notoriously difficult to analyze by traditional reversed phase liquid chromatography. Results Here, we show a two-step derivatization of sugar phosphates by methoxylamine and propionic acid anhydride after chloroform/methanol (3:7) extraction from Populus leaf and developing wood that improves separation, identification and quantification of sugar phosphates by ultra high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-ESI-MS). Standard curves of authentic sugar phosphates were generated for concentrations from pg to ng/mu l with a correlation coefficient R-2 > 0.99. The method showed high sensitivity and repeatability with relative standard deviation (RSD) < 20% based on repeated extraction, derivatization and detection. The analytical accuracy for Populus leaf extracts, determined by a two-level spiking approach of selected metabolites, was 79-107%. Conclusion The results show the reliability of combined reversed phase liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for sugar phosphate analysis and demonstrate the presence of two unknown sugar phosphates in Populus extracts.


Sugar phosphates; UHPLC-ESI-MS; Q-TOF; QqQ-MS; Extraction; Two-step derivatization

Published in

Plant Methods
2019, Volume: 15, number: 1, article number: 127
Publisher: BMC