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Front Plant Sci. 2019 Jul 5;10:885. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00885. eCollection 2019.

A Novel Method for Identification and Quantification of Sulfated Flavonoids in Plants by Neutral Loss Scan Mass Spectrometry.

Author information

1
MS-Platform, Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences, Botanical Institute (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
2
Botanical Institute and Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.

Abstract

Sulfur is present in plants in a large range of essential primary metabolites, as well as in numerous natural products. Many of these secondary metabolites contain sulfur in the oxidized form of organic sulfate. However, except of glucosinolates, very little is known about other classes of such sulfated metabolites, mainly because of lack of specific and quantitative analytical methods. We developed an LC-MS method to analyze sulfated flavonoids, a group of sulfated secondary metabolites prominent, e.g., in plants of the genus Flaveria. The method uses a linear gradient of methanol/formic acid in water on a Restek Raptor C18 Core-Shell column for separation of the compounds. The sulfated flavonoids are detected by mass spectrometry (MS) in a negative mode, using a neutral loss of 80 Da after a collision induced dissociation. With this method we were also able to quantify the sulfated flavonoids. We could detect all (mono)sulfated flavonoids described before in Flaveria plus a number of new ones, such as isorhamnetin-sulfate-glycoside. In addition, we showed that sulfated flavonoids represent a substantial sulfur pool in Flaveria, larger than the thiols glutathione and cysteine. The individual species possess different sulfated flavonoids, but there is no correlation between the qualitative pattern and type of photosynthesis. Similar to other sulfur-containing secondary compounds, the concentration of sulfated flavonoids in leaves is reduced by sulfur starvation. The new LC-MS method will enable qualitative and quantitative detection of these secondary metabolites in plants as a pre-requisite to addressing their functions.

KEYWORDS:

Flaveria; mass spectrometry; method development; neutral loss scan; sulfated flavonoids; sulfur metabolism

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