Mass spectrometric profiling of flavonoid glycoconjugates possessing isomeric aglycones.J Mass Spectrom. 2015 Jan; 50(1):71-80.JM
In fields such as food and nutrition science or plant physiology, interest in untargeted profiling of flavonoids continues to expand. The group of flavonoids encompasses several thousands of chemically distinguishable compounds, among which are a number of isobaric compounds with the same elemental composition. Thus, the mass spectrometric identification of these compounds is challenging, especially when reference standards are not available to support their identification. Many different types of isomers of flavonoid glycoconjugates are known, i.e. compounds that differ in their glycosylation position, glycan sequence or type of interglycosidic linkage. This work focuses on the mass spectrometric identification of flavonoid glycoconjugate isomers possessing the same glycan mass and differing only in their aglycone core. A non-targeted HPLC-ESI-MS/MS profiling method using a triple quadrupole MS is presented herein, which utilizes in-source fragmentation and a pseudo-MS(3) approach for the selective analysis of flavonoid glycoconjugates with isomeric/isobaric aglycones. A selective MRM-based identification of the in-source formed isobaric aglycone fragments was established. Additionally, utilizing the precursor scanning capability of the employed triple quadrupole instrument, the developed method enabled the determination of the molecular weight of the studied intact flavonoid glycoconjugate. The versatility of the method was proven with various types of flavonoid aglycones, i.e. anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, flavanones and isoflavones, along with their representative glycoconjugates. The developed method was also successfully applied to a commercially available sour cherry sample, in which 16 different glycoconjugates of pelargonidin, genistein, cyanidin, kaempferol and quercetin could be tentatively identified, including a number of compounds containing isomeric/isobaric aglycones.