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J Chromatogr A. 2010 Dec 24;1217(52):8186-94. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2010.10.064. Epub 2010 Oct 23.

Regioisomeric analysis of triacylglycerols using silver-ion liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry: comparison of five different mass analyzers.

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University of Pardubice, Faculty of Chemical Technology, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Studentská 573, 53210 Pardubice, Czech Republic.


Silver-ion high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (APCI-MS) is used for the regioisomeric analysis of triacylglycerols (TGs). Standard mixtures of TG regioisomers are prepared by the randomization reaction from 8 mono-acid TG standards (tripalmitin, tristearin, triarachidin, triolein, trielaidin, trilinolein, trilinolenin and tri-gamma-linolenin). In total, 32 different regioisomeric doublets and 11 triplets are synthesized, separated by silver-ion HPLC using three serial coupled chromatographic columns giving a total length of 75cm. The retention of TGs increases strongly with the double bond (DB) number and slightly for regioisomers having more DBs in sn-1/3 positions. DB positional isomers (linolenic vs. γ-linolenic acids) are also separated and their reverse retention order in two different mobile phases is demonstrated. APCI mass spectra of all separated regioisomers are measured on five different mass spectrometers: single quadrupole LC/MSD (Agilent Technologies), triple quadrupole API 3000 (AB SCIEX), ion trap Esquire 3000 (Bruker Daltonics), quadrupole time-of-flight micrOTOF-Q (Bruker Daltonics) and LTQ Orbitrap XL (Thermo Fisher Scientific). The effect of different types of mass analyzer on the ratio of [M+H-R(i)COOH](+) fragment ions in APCI mass spectra is lower compared to the effect of the number of DBs, their position on the acyl chain and the regiospecific distribution of acyl chains on the glycerol skeleton. Presented data on [M+H-R(i)COOH](+) ratios measured on five different mass analyzers can be used for the direct regioisomeric determination in natural and biological samples.

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