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Plant Methods. 2013 Apr 18;9:13. doi: 10.1186/1746-4811-9-13. eCollection 2013.

A selective pretreatment method for determination of endogenous active brassinosteroids in plant tissues: double layered solid phase extraction combined with boronate affinity polymer monolith microextraction.

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Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Biology and Medicine (Ministry of Education), Department of Chemistry, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430072, China.



Brassinosteriods (BRs), a group of important phytohormones, have various effects on plant growth and development. However, their physiological functions in plants have not been fully understood to date. Endogenous BRs in plant tissue are extremely low and the elucidation of BRs functions relies on sensitive detection method. Reported methods for the determination of BRs required large amount of plant tissue, tedious pretreatment process, and were lack of selectivity. Therefore, development of a simple and selective method for the sensitive quantification of BRs is highly needed.


We established a pretreatment method of BRs in plant tissues by employing double layered solid phase extraction (DL/SPE) combined with boronate affinity polymer monolith microextraction (BA/PMME). After the initial depigmentation with DL/SPE cartridge, BA/PMME was employed to selectively extract BRs from sample matrix. Uniquely, most sample matrix was successfully removed by BA monolith purification. Using this method, BRs was determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Endogenous active BRs could be detected in only 1 g fresh weigh (FW) leaves or 0.5 g FW flower tissues.


A DL/SPE-BA/PMME pretreatment method for the determination of endogenous brassinosteroids in plant tissues was developed and validated. The proposed method was sensitive and selective. Besides, it may be further developed for the determination of other BRs including their precursors and conjugates.


Boronate affinity chromatography; Brassinosteroid; Double layered solid phase extraction; HPLC-ESI-MS/MS; Polymer monolith microextraction

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