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Anal Chem. 2006 Jan 15;78(2):501-12.

Identification of microcystin toxins from a strain of Microcystis aeruginosa by liquid chromatography introduction into a hybrid linear ion trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer.

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  • 1Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, 26 West Martin L. King Jr. Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45268, USA.


The cyclic heptapeptide microcystin toxins produced by a strain of Microcystis aeruginosa that has not been investigated previously were separated by liquid chromatography and identified by high-accuracy m/z measurements of their [M + H]+ ions and the fragment ions produced by collision-activated dissociation of the [M + H]+ ions. The cyanobacteria B2666 strain was cultured in a standard growth medium, and the toxins were released from the cells, extracted from the aqueous phase, and concentrated using standard procedures. The microcystins were separated by reversed-phase microbore liquid chromatography and introduced directly into a hybrid linear ion trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer with electrospray ionization. The known microcystins (MC) MC-LR, MC-LA, [MeSer7]MC-LR, MC-LL, MC-LF, and MC-L(Aba) were identified along with the two previously unreported structural variants [Asp3]MC-LA and [Asp3]MC-LL. In addition to the [M + H]+ ions, accurate m/z measurements were made of 12-18 product ions for each identified microcystin. The mean difference between measured and calculated exact m/z was less than 2 parts per million, which often allowed assignment of unique compositions to the observed ions. A mechanism is presented that accounts for an important collision-activated dissociation process that gives valuable sequence ions from microcystins that do not contain arginine. The analytical technique used in this work is capable of supporting fairly rapid and very reliable identifications of known microcystins when standards are not available and of most structural variants independent of additional information from other analytical techniques.

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