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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jul 13;59(13):6864-70. doi: 10.1021/jf200482a. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Development of a new high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry method for the determination of low molecular mass organic acids in plant tissue extracts.

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  • 1Department of Plant Nutrition, Aula Dei Experimental Station, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cienti╠üficas, Zaragoza, Spain. ana.alvarez@eead.csic.es


A liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry method has been developed for the direct and simultaneous determination of 10 low molecular mass organic acids in different plant tissue extracts. The method does not include a derivatization step. Quantification was accomplished using (13)C-labeled malic and succinic acids as internal standards. Good limits of detection (0.05-1.27 pmol) were obtained for malic, 2-oxoglutaric, succinic, quinic, shikimic, cis-aconitic, and citric acids, whereas for oxalic, ascorbic, and fumaric acids limits of detection were 255, 25, and 11 pmol, respectively. Repeatability values for the retention time and peak area were <5%, with the exception of ascorbic acid. Analyte recovery was between 92% and 110% in most cases, with the exception of oxalic (39-108%), 2-oxoglutaric (44-69%), and ascorbic (22-86%) acids, which may require specific extraction procedures and use of the corresponding (13)C-labeled organic acid as internal standards to improve accuracy. The method was applied to three types of plant materials: sugar beet leaf extracts, tomato xylem sap, and commercial orange juice.

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