Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Europe and the western world. At present, diagnosis of lung cancer very often happens late in the course of the disease since inexpensive, non-invasive and sufficiently sensitive and specific screening methods are not available. Even though the CT diagnostic methods are good, it must be assured that "screening benefit outweighs risk, across all individuals screened, not only those with lung cancer". An early non-invasive diagnosis of lung cancer would improve prognosis and enlarge treatment options. Analysis of exhaled breath would be an ideal diagnostic method, since it is non-invasive and totally painless.
Exhaled breath and inhaled room air samples were analyzed using proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) and solid phase microextraction with subsequent gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME-GCMS). For the PTR-MS measurements, 220 lung cancer patients and 441 healthy volunteers were recruited. For the GCMS measurements, we collected samples from 65 lung cancer patients and 31 healthy volunteers. Lung cancer patients were in different disease stages and under treatment with different regimes. Mixed expiratory and indoor air samples were collected in Tedlar bags, and either analyzed directly by PTR-MS or transferred to glass vials and analyzed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS). Only those measurements of compounds were considered, which showed at least a 15% higher concentration in exhaled breath than in indoor air. Compounds related to smoking behavior such as acetonitrile and benzene were not used to differentiate between lung cancer patients and healthy volunteers.
Isoprene, acetone and methanol are compounds appearing in everybody's exhaled breath. These three main compounds of exhaled breath show slightly lower concentrations in lung cancer patients as compared to healthy volunteers (p < 0.01 for isoprene and acetone, p = 0.011 for methanol; PTR-MS measurements). A comparison of the GCMS-results of 65 lung cancer patients with those of 31 healthy volunteers revealed differences in concentration for more than 50 compounds. Sensitivity for detection of lung cancer patients based on presence of (one of) 4 different compounds not arising in exhaled breath of healthy volunteers was 52% with a specificity of 100%. Using 15 (or 21) different compounds for distinction, sensitivity was 71% (80%) with a specificity of 100%. Potential marker compounds are alcohols, aldehydes, ketones and hydrocarbons.
GCMS-SPME is a relatively insensitive method. Hence compounds not appearing in exhaled breath of healthy volunteers may be below the limit of detection (LOD). PTR-MS, on the other hand, does not need preconcentration and gives much more reliable quantitative results then GCMS-SPME. The shortcoming of PTR-MS is that it cannot identify compounds with certainty. Hence SPME-GCMS and PTR-MS complement each other, each method having its particular advantages and disadvantages. Exhaled breath analysis is promising to become a future non-invasive lung cancer screening method. In order to proceed towards this goal, precise identification of compounds observed in exhaled breath of lung cancer patients is necessary. Comparison with compounds released from lung cancer cell cultures, and additional information on exhaled breath composition in other cancer forms will be important.
The microbial conversion of solid cellulosic biomass to liquid biofuels may provide a renewable energy source for transportation fuels. Endophytes represent a promising group of organisms, as they are a mostly untapped reservoir of metabolic diversity. They are often able to degrade cellulose, and they can produce an extraordinary diversity of metabolites. The filamentous fungal endophyte Ascocoryne sarcoides was shown to produce potential-biofuel metabolites when grown on a cellulose-based medium; however, the genetic pathways needed for this production are unknown and the lack of genetic tools makes traditional reverse genetics difficult. We present the genomic characterization of A. sarcoides and use transcriptomic and metabolomic data to describe the genes involved in cellulose degradation and to provide hypotheses for the biofuel production pathways. In total, almost 80 biosynthetic clusters were identified, including several previously found only in plants. Additionally, many transcriptionally active regions outside of genes showed condition-specific expression, offering more evidence for the role of long non-coding RNA in gene regulation. This is one of the highest quality fungal genomes and, to our knowledge, the only thoroughly annotated and transcriptionally profiled fungal endophyte genome currently available. The analyses and datasets contribute to the study of cellulose degradation and biofuel production and provide the genomic foundation for the study of a model endophyte system.
A renewable source of energy is a pressing global need. The biological conversion of lignocellulose to biofuels by microorganisms presents a promising avenue, but few organisms have been studied thoroughly enough to develop the genetic tools necessary for rigorous experimentation. The filamentous-fungal endophyte A. sarcoides produces metabolites when grown on a cellulose-based medium that include eight-carbon volatile organic compounds, which are potential biofuel targets. Here we use broadly applicable methods including genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics to explore the biofuel production of A. sarcoides. These data were used to assemble the genome into 16 scaffolds, to thoroughly annotate the cellulose-degradation machinery, and to make predictions for the production pathway for the eight-carbon volatiles. Extremely high expression of the gene swollenin when grown on cellulose highlights the importance of accessory proteins in addition to the enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of the polymers. Correlation of the production of the eight-carbon biofuel-like metabolites with the expression of lipoxygenase pathway genes suggests the catabolism of linoleic acid as the mechanism of eight-carbon compound production. This is the first fungal genome to be sequenced in the family Helotiaceae, and A. sarcoides was isolated as an endophyte, making this work also potentially useful in fungal systematics and the study of plant–fungus relationships.
Many plant species respond to herbivore attack by an increased formation of volatile organic compounds. In this preliminary study we analysed the volatile metabolome of grapevine roots [Teleki 5C (Vitis berlandieri Planch. × Vitis riparia Michx.)] with the aim to gain insight into the interaction between phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae Fitch; Hemiptera: Phylloxeridae) and grapevine roots. In the first part of the study, headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled to gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC–MS) was used to detect and identify volatile metabolites in uninfested and phylloxera-infested root tips of the grapevine rootstock Teleki 5C. Based on the comparison of deconvoluted mass spectra with spectra databases as well as experimentally derived retention indices with literature values, 38 metabolites were identified, which belong to the major classes of plant volatiles including C6-compounds, terpenes (including modified terpenes), aromatic compounds, alcohols and n-alkanes. Based on these identified metabolites, changes in root volatiles were investigated and resulted in metabolite profiles caused by phylloxera infestation. Our preliminary data indicate that defence related pathways such as the mevalonate and/or alternative isopentenyl pyrophosphate-, the lipoxygenase- (LOX) as well as the phenylpropanoid pathway are affected in root galls as a response to phylloxera attack.
► 38 volatiles identified in healthy and phylloxera-infested grapevine root samples by GC–MS. ► Fourteen differentially expressed metabolites in phylloxera-infested grapevine root tips. ► Root infestation by phylloxera is associated with defence response in grapevine. ► MEV/alt. IPP-, phenylpropanoid- and LOX pathways are affected upon phylloxera attack.
Phylloxera; Nodosity; Volatile secondary metabolites; Metabolite profiling; HS-SPME–GC–MS; Vitis berlandieri × Vitis riparia; Rootstock
Vacuum packaged beef strip-loins (fresh and aged) were repackaged on polystyrene trays and over-wrapped with food grade cling film for the storage study. Several volatile compounds such as 3-methyl-1-butanol, 2,3-butanedione, 2-butanone, 3-hydroxy-2-butanone, acetic acid and a few hydrocarbons were detected in the headspace of these tray packaged fresh and aged beef strip loins both in the control and Salmonella typhimurium inoculated samples, in varying concentrations. These compounds were identified using manual headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) in combination with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) over a storage period of 4 days and samples were incubated at 20°C. No naturally occurring Salmonella was present in the control samples. Hexanal (r = 0.99), carbon dioxide (r = 0.98), 3-hydroxy-2-butanone (r = 0.93) and 2-methyl propane (r = 0.95) showed positive correlations with Salmonella population for fresh beef samples. In aged beef samples, 3-methyl-1-butanol (r = 0.99), 3-hydroxy-2-butanone (r = 0.98), carbon dioxide (r = 0.98) and acetic acid (r = 0.86) showed similar trends. In fresh beef samples, F values were significant at p < 0.05 for 3-hydroxy-2-butanone and for carbon dioxide with storage time for fresh beef samples; they were significant for 3-hydroxy-2-butanone, acetic acid and carbon dioxide for aged beef samples.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13197-010-0138-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Over wrapped beef; Aged, fresh, Salmonella; HS-SPME/GC-MS; Volatiles
This study aimed to analyze the volatile chemical profile of Longjing tea, and further develop a prediction model for aroma quality of Longjing tea based on potent odorants. A total of 21 Longjing samples were analyzed by headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Pearson’s linear correlation analysis and partial least square (PLS) regression were applied to investigate the relationship between sensory aroma scores and the volatile compounds. Results showed that 60 volatile compounds could be commonly detected in this famous green tea. Terpenes and esters were two major groups characterized, representing 33.89% and 15.53% of the total peak area respectively. Ten compounds were determined to contribute significantly to the perceived aroma quality of Longjing tea, especially linalool (0.701), nonanal (0.738), (Z)-3-hexenyl hexanoate (−0.785), and β-ionone (−0.763). On the basis of these 10 compounds, a model (correlation coefficient of 89.4% and cross-validated correlation coefficient of 80.4%) was constructed to predict the aroma quality of Longjing tea. Summarily, this study has provided a novel option for quality prediction of green tea based on HS-SPME/GC-MS technique.
Partial least square (PLS) regression; Green tea; Headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME); Volatile profile; Quality prediction
The search for non-invasive diagnostic methods of lung cancer has led to new avenues of research, including the exploration of the exhaled breath. Previous studies have shown that lung cancer can in principle be detected through exhaled breath analysis. This study evaluated the potential of exhaled breath analysis for the distinction of benign and malignant pulmonary nodules (PNs).
Breath samples were taken from 72 patients with PNs in a prospective trial. Profiles of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were determined by (i) gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) combined with solid phase microextraction (SPME) and by (ii) a chemical nanoarray.
53 PNs were malignant and 19 were benign with similar smoking histories and co-morbidities. Nodule size (mean +/− SD) was 2.7±1.7 vs. 1.6±1.3 cm (p=0.004) respectively. Within the malignant group, 47 were NSCLC and 6 were SCLC. Thirty had early stage disease and 23 had advanced disease. GC-MS analysis identified a significantly higher concentration of 1-octene in the breath of lung cancer, and the nanoarray distinguished significantly between benign vs. malignant PNs (p<0.0001; accuracy 88±3%), between adeno- and squamous- cell carcinomas (p<0.0001; 88±3%) and between early stage and advanced disease (p<0.0001; 88±2%).
In this pilot study, breath analysis discriminated benign from malignant PNs in a high-risk cohort based on lung cancer related VOC profiles. Further, it discriminated adeno-and squamous- cell carcinoma and between early vs. advanced disease. Further studies are required to validate this non-invasive approach, using a larger cohort of patients with PNs detected by CT.
Lung cancer; pulmonary nodules; diagnosis; breath; nanoarray
Body fluids such as urine potentially contain a wealth of information pertaining to age, sex, social and reproductive status, physiologic state, and genotype of the donor. To explore whether urine could encode information regarding environment, physiology, and development, we compared the volatile compositions of mouse urine using solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS). Specifically, we identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in individual urine samples taken from inbred C57BL/6J-H-2b mice under several experimental conditions—maturation state, diet, stress, and diurnal rhythms, designed to mimic natural variations. Approximately 1000 peaks (i.e., variables) were identified per comparison and of these many were identified as potential differential biomarkers. Consistent with previous findings, we found groups of compounds that vary significantly and consistently rather than a single unique compound to provide a robust signature. We identified over 49 new predictive compounds, in addition to identifying several published compounds, for maturation state, diet, stress, and time-of-day. We found a considerable degree of overlap in the chemicals identified as (potential) biomarkers for each comparison. Chemometric methods indicate that the strong group-related patterns in VOCs provide sufficient information to identify several parameters of natural variations in this strain of mice including their maturation state, stress level, and diet.
age; diet; solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; stress; urine; volatile organic compound
Brunfelsia calycina flowers change colour from purple to white due to anthocyanin degradation, parallel to an increase in fragrance and petal size. Here it was tested whether the production of the fragrant benzenoids is dependent on induction of the shikimate pathway, or if they are formed from the anthocyanin degradation products. An extensive characterization of the events taking place in Brunfelsia flowers is presented. Anthocyanin characterization was performed using ultraperfomance liquid chromatography–quadrupole time of flight–tandem mass specrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS). Volatiles emitted were identified by headspace solid phase microextraction–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS). Accumulated proteins were identified by 2D gel electrophoresis. Transcription profiles were characterized by cross-species hybridization of Brunfelsia cDNAs to potato cDNA microarrays. Identification of accumulated metabolites was performed by UPLC-QTOF-MS non-targeted metabolite analysis. The results include characterization of the nine main anthocyanins in Brunfelsia flowers. In addition, 146 up-regulated genes, 19 volatiles, seven proteins, and 17 metabolites that increased during anthocyanin degradation were identified. A multilevel analysis suggests induction of the shikimate pathway. This pathway is the most probable source of the phenolic acids, which in turn are precursors of both the benzenoid and lignin production pathways. The knowledge obtained is valuable for future studies on degradation of anthocyanins, formation of volatiles, and the network of secondary metabolism in Brunfelsia and related species.
Anthocyanin; benzenoid; Brunfelsia; lignin; secondary metabolism
Early detection of melanoma is of great importance to reduce mortality. Discovering new melanoma biomarkers would improve early detection and diagnosis. Here, we present a novel approach to detect volatile compounds from skin.
Methods and Findings
We used Head Space Solid Phase Micro-Extraction (HS-SPME) and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to identify volatile signatures from melanoma, naevi and skin samples. We hypothesized that the metabolic state of tissue alters the profile of volatile compounds. Volatiles released from fresh biopsy tissue of melanoma and benign naevus were compared based on their difference in frequency distribution and their expression level. We also analyzed volatile profiles from frozen tissue, including skin and melanoma.
Three volatiles, 4-methyl decane, dodecane and undecane were preferentially expressed in both fresh and frozen melanoma, indicating that they are candidate biomarkers. Twelve candidate biomarkers evaluated by fuzzy logic analysis of frozen samples distinguished melanoma from skin with 89% sensitivity and 90% specificity. Our results demonstrate proof-of-principle that there is differential expression of volatiles in melanoma. Our volatile metabolomic approach will lead to a better understanding of melanoma and can enable development of new diagnostic and treatment strategies based on altered metabolism.
Proton transfer reaction-time of flight (PTR-TOF) mass spectrometry was used to
improve detection of biogenic volatiles organic compounds (BVOCs) induced by
leaf wounding and darkening. PTR-TOF measurements unambiguously captured the
kinetic of the large emissions of green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and acetaldehyde
after wounding and darkening. GLVs emission correlated with the extent of
wounding, thus confirming to be an excellent indicator of mechanical damage.
Transient emissions of methanol, C5 compounds and isoprene from plant species
that do not emit isoprene constitutively were also detected after wounding. In
the strong isoprene-emitter Populus alba, light-dependent
isoprene emission was sustained and even enhanced for hours after photosynthesis
inhibition due to leaf cutting. Thus isoprene emission can uncouple from
photosynthesis and may occur even after cutting leaves or branches, e.g., by
agricultural practices or because of abiotic and biotic stresses. This
observation may have important implications for assessments of isoprene sources
and budget in the atmosphere, and consequences for tropospheric chemistry.
Filamentous fungi in the genus Aspergillus produce a variety of natural products, including aflatoxin, the most potent naturally occurring carcinogen known. Aflatoxin biosynthesis, one of the most highly characterized secondary metabolic pathways, offers a model system to study secondary metabolism in eukaryotes. To control or customize biosynthesis of natural products we must understand how secondary metabolism integrates into the overall cellular metabolic network. By applying a metabolomics approach we analyzed volatile compounds synthesized by Aspergillus parasiticus in an attempt to define the association of secondary metabolism with other metabolic and cellular processes.
Volatile compounds were examined using solid phase microextraction - gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. In the wild type strain Aspergillus parasiticus SU-1, the largest group of volatiles included compounds derived from catabolism of branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine); we also identified alcohols, esters, aldehydes, and lipid-derived volatiles. The number and quantity of the volatiles produced depended on media composition, time of incubation, and light-dark status. A block in aflatoxin biosynthesis or disruption of the global regulator veA affected the volatile profile. In addition to its multiple functions in secondary metabolism and development, VeA negatively regulated catabolism of branched chain amino acids and synthesis of ethanol at the transcriptional level thus playing a role in controlling carbon flow within the cell. Finally, we demonstrated that volatiles generated by a veA disruption mutant are part of the complex regulatory machinery that mediates the effects of VeA on asexual conidiation and sclerotia formation.
1) Volatile profiling provides a rapid, effective, and powerful approach to identify changes in intracellular metabolic networks in filamentous fungi. 2) VeA coordinates the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites with catabolism of branched chain amino acids, alcohol biosynthesis, and β-oxidation of fatty acids. 3) Intracellular chemical development in A. parasiticus is linked to morphological development. 4) Understanding carbon flow through secondary metabolic pathways and catabolism of branched chain amino acids is essential for controlling and customizing production of natural products.
Root herbivores are notoriously difficult to study, as they feed hidden in the soil. However, root herbivores may be traced by analyzing specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are produced by damaged roots. These VOCs not only support parasitoids in the localization of their host, but also may help scientists study belowground plant-herbivore interactions. Herbivore-induced VOCs are usually analyzed by gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), but with this off-line method, the gases of interest need to be preconcentrated, and destructive sampling is required to assess the level of damage to the roots. In contrast to this, proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) is a very sensitive on-line, non-invasive method. PTR-MS already has been successfully applied to analyze VOCs produced by aboveground (infested) plant parts. In this review, we provide a brief overview of PTR-MS and illustrate how this technology can be applied to detect specific root-herbivore induced VOCs from Brassica plants. We also specify the advantages and disadvantages of PTR-MS analyses and new technological developments to overcome their limitations.
Chemical ecology; Root herbivory; Trace gas analysis; Induced indirect defense; Mass spectrometry; Volatile organic compound (VOC)
Formaldehyde dimethylhydrazone (FADMH) is one of the important transformation products of residual rocket fuel 1,1-dimethylhydrazine (1,1-DMH). Thus, recent studies show that FADMH toxicity is comparable to that of undecomposed 1,1-DMH. In this study, a new method for quantification of FADMH in water based on solid phase microextraction (SPME) in combination with gas chromatography (GC) with mass spectrometric (MS) and nitrogen-phosphorus detection (NPD) is presented. Effects of SPME fiber coating type, extraction and desorption temperatures, extraction time, and pH on analyte recovery were studied. The optimized method used 65 micron polydimethylsiloxane/divinylbenzene fiber coating for 1 min headspace extractions at 30 °C. Preferred pH and desorption temperature from the SPME fiber are >8.5 and 200 °C, respectively. Detection limits were estimated to be 1.5 and 0.5 μg L−1 for MS and NPD, respectively. The method was applied to laboratory-scale experiments to quantify FADMH. Results indicate applicability for in situ sampling and analysis and possible first-time detection of free FADMH in water.
Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; Solid phase microextraction; Environmental analysis; Rocket fuel; Formaldehyde dimethylhydrazone
Solid phase microextraction (SPME) has been optimized and applied to the determination of the volatile halogenated compounds (VHCs) and semi-volatile halogenated compounds (SVHCs). Three types of SPME fiber coated with different stationary phases (PDMS–100 μm, CAR/PDMS-75 μm, PDMS/DVB–65 μm) were used to examine their extraction efficiencies for the compounds tested. Experimental parameters such as the selection of SPME coatings, extraction time, and addition of salts were studied. The carboxen-polydimethylsiloxane (CAR/PDMS) fiber appears to be the most suitable for the determination of VHCs. Analytical parameters such as linearity, limit of detection, and precision were also evaluated. Application of ECD detector for the determination of VHCs and SVHCs allows their determination on the low concentration level, ranging from 0.005 to 0.8 μg/L−1. The HS-SPME-GC/ECD procedure gave good analytical precision expressed as relative standard deviation (RSD) (ranged from 5.08% to 8.07%) for a concentration level of 5 μg/L−1 and good linearity (r2 > 0.98) in a wide calibration range. The applied HS-SPME-GC/ECD method was found to be a quick and effective technique for the determination of microtrace amounts of volatile and semi-volatile halogenated compounds in samples containing high amounts of various organic compounds.
Environmental Analysis; Halogenated Compounds; Solid Phase Microextraction; Water Analysis
Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) analyses revealed that damaged Brassica roots emit sulfur-containing volatiles. B. nigra, B. juncea and B. napus emitted isothiocyanate markers, whereas B. rapa, B. oleracea, and B. carinata emitted methanethiol. These compounds can be used as markers for root damage by insect larvae and other below-ground herbivores.
Background and aims
Plants damaged by herbivores emit a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here we used proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) as a sensitive detection method for online analysis of herbivore-induced VOCs. Previously, it was found that Brassica nigra plants emit several sulfur-containing VOCs when attacked by cabbage root fly (Delia radicum) larvae with m/z 60 as a marker for the formation of allylisothiocyanate from the glucosinolate sinigrin. We tested the hypothesis that m/z 60 emission occurs only in plants with sinigrin in their roots. Additionally, we tested the hypothesis that methanethiol, dimethylsulfide and dimethyldisulfide are only emitted after larval infestation.
Proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry was used to track sulfur-containing VOCs from six different species of Brassica over time. The roots were either artificially damaged or infested with cabbage root fly larvae. Glucosinolate profiles of the roots were analysed using high-pressure liquid chromatography and compared with VOC emissions.
Brassica nigra, B. juncea and B. napus primarily emitted m/z 60 directly after artificial damage or root fly infestation. Sulfide and methanethiol emissions from B. nigra and B. juncea also increased after larval damage but much later (6–12 h after damage). Brassica rapa, B. oleracea and B. carinata principally emitted methanethiol after artificial and after larval damage. Brassica oleracea and B. carinata showed some increase in m/z 60 emission after larval damage. Comparison with root glucosinolate profiles revealed that sinigrin cannot be the only precursor for m/z 60.
The principal compound emitted after root damage is determined by the plant species, and not by damage type or root glucosinolate composition. Once determined, the principal compounds may be used as markers for identifying damaged or infested plants. Further analyses of plant enzymes involved in the breakdown of sulfur compounds is needed to reveal the origin of sulfur-containing VOCs from plants.
Electrophysiological techniques are used in insect neuroscience to measure the response of olfactory neurons to volatile odour stimuli. Widely used systems to deliver an olfactory stimulus to a test insect include airstream guided flow through glass cartridges loaded with a given volatile compound on a sorbent support. Precise measurement of the quantity of compound reaching the sensory organ of the test organism is an urgent task in insect electrophysiology. In this study we evaluated the performances of the recent realised proton transfer reaction-time of flight mass-spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) as a fast and selective gas sensor. In particular, we characterised the gas emission from cartridges loaded with a set of volatile compounds belonging to different chemical classes and commonly used in electrophysiological experiments. PTR-ToF-MS allowed a fast monitoring of all investigated compounds with sufficient sensitivity and time resolution. The detection and the quantification of air contaminants and solvent or synthetic standards impurities allowed a precise quantification of the stimulus exiting the cartridge. The outcome of this study was twofold: on one hand we showed that PTR-ToF-MS allows monitoring fast processes with high sensitivity by real time detection of a broad number of compounds; on the other hand we provided a tool to solve an important issue in insect electrophysiology.
electrophysiological techniques; olfactory stimulus; proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry; real time monitoring; volatile compounds
Optimal accuracy and precision in small molecule profiling by mass spectrometry generally requires isotopically labeled standards chemically representative of all compounds of interest. However, preparation of mixed standards from commercially available pure compounds is often prohibitively expensive and time consuming, and many labeled compounds are not available in pure form. We used a single prototype uniformly labeled [U-13C]-compound to generate [U-13C]-volatile standards for use in subsequent experimental profiling studies. [U-13C]-α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3, ALA) was thermally oxidized to produce labeled lipid degradation volatiles which were subsequently characterized qualitatively and quantitatively. Twenty-five [U-13C]-labeled volatiles were identified by headspace solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-TOF-MS) by comparison of spectra with unlabeled volatiles. Using 250 μL starting sample, labeled volatiles were quantified by a reverse isotope dilution procedure. Using the [U-13C]-labeled standards, limits of detection comparable to or better than previous HS-SPME reports were achieved, 0.010–1.04 ng/g. The performance of the [U-13C]-volatile standards was evaluated using a commodity soybean oil (CSO) oxidized at 60°C from 0 to 15 d. Relative responses of n-decane, an unlabeled internal standard otherwise absent from the mixture, and [U-13C]-oxidation products changed by up to 8-fold as the CSO matrix was oxidized, demonstrating that reliance on a single standard in volatile profiling studies yields inaccurate results due to changing matrix effects. The [U-13C]-standard mixture was used to quantify 25 volatiles in oxidized CSO and low-ALA soybean oil with an average relative standard deviation of 8.5%. Extension of this approach to other labeled substrates, e.g., [U-13C]-sugars and amino acids, for profiling studies should be feasible and can dramatically improve quantitative results compared to use of a single standard.
Stable isotope metabolic labeling; lipids; uniformly labeled standard; soybean oil; metabolomics; lipidomics
A method for analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from microbial cultures was established using proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). A newly developed sampling system was coupled to a PTR-MS instrument to allow on-line monitoring of VOCs in the dynamic headspaces of microbial cultures. The novel PTR-MS method was evaluated for four reference organisms: Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, Salmonella enterica, and Candida tropicalis. Headspace VOCs in sampling bottles containing actively growing cultures and uninoculated culture medium controls were sequentially analyzed by PTR-MS. Characteristic marker ions were found for certain microbial cultures: C. tropicalis could be identified by several unique markers compared with the other three organisms, and E. coli and S. enterica were distinguishable from each other and from S. flexneri by specific marker ions, demonstrating the potential of this method to differentiate between even closely related microorganisms. Although the temporal profiles of some VOCs were similar to the growth dynamics of the microbial cultures, most VOCs showed a different temporal profile, characterized by constant or decreasing VOC levels or by single or multiple peaks over 24 h of incubation. These findings strongly indicate that the temporal evolution of VOC emissions during growth must be considered if characterization or differentiation based on microbial VOC emissions is attempted. Our study may help to establish the analysis of VOCs by on-line PTR-MS as a routine method in microbiology and as a tool for monitoring environmental and biotechnological processes.
This paper describes the design of a new instrumental technique, Gas Chromatography Recomposition-Olfactometry (GC-R), that adapts the reconstitution technique used in flavor chemistry studies by extracting volatiles from a sample by headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME), separating the extract on a capillary GC column, and recombining individual compounds selectively as they elute off of the column into a mixture for sensory analysis (Figure 1). Using the chromatogram of a mixture as a map, the GC-R instrument allows the operator to “cut apart" and recombine the components of the mixture at will, selecting compounds, peaks, or sections based on retention time to include or exclude in a reconstitution for sensory analysis. Selective recombination is accomplished with the installation of a Deans Switch directly in-line with the column, which directs compounds either to waste or to a cryotrap at the operator's discretion. This enables the creation of, for example, aroma reconstitutions incorporating all of the volatiles in a sample, including instrumentally undetectable compounds as well those present at concentrations below sensory thresholds, thus correcting for the “reconstitution discrepancy" sometimes noted in flavor chemistry studies. Using only flowering lavender (Lavandula angustifola ‘Hidcote Blue’) as a source for volatiles, we used the instrument to build mixtures of subsets of lavender volatiles in-instrument and characterized their aroma qualities with a sensory panel. We showed evidence of additive, masking, and synergistic effects in these mixtures and of “lavender' aroma character as an emergent property of specific mixtures. This was accomplished without the need for chemical standards, reductive aroma models, or calculation of Odor Activity Values, and is broadly applicable to any aroma or flavor.
The diagnostic potential and health implications of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in human feces has begun to receive considerable attention. Headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) has greatly facilitated the isolation and analysis of VOCs from human feces. Pioneering human fecal VOC metabolomic investigations have utilized a single SPME fiber type for analyte extraction and analysis. However, we hypothesized that the multifarious nature of metabolites present in human feces dictates the use of several diverse SPME fiber coatings for more comprehensive metabolomic coverage. We report here an evaluation of eight different commercially available SPME fibers, in combination with both GC-MS and GC-FID, and identify the 50/30 µm CAR-DVB-PDMS, 85 µm CAR-PDMS, 65 µm DVB-PDMS, 7 µm PDMS, and 60 µm PEG SPME fibers as a minimal set of fibers appropriate for human fecal VOC metabolomics, collectively isolating approximately 90% of the total metabolites obtained when using all eight fibers. We also evaluate the effect of extraction duration on metabolite isolation and illustrate that ex vivo enteric microbial fermentation has no effect on metabolite composition during prolonged extractions if the SPME is performed as described herein.
The analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC) as biomarkers of cancer is both promising and challenging. In this pilot study, we used an untargeted approach to compare volatile metabolomic signatures of melanoma and matched control non-neoplastic skin from the same patient. VOC from fresh (non-fixed) biopsied tissue were collected using the headspace solid phase micro extraction method (HS SPME) and analyzed by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GCMS). We applied the XCMS analysis platform and MetaboAnalyst software to reveal many differentially expressed metabolic features. Our analysis revealed increased levels of lauric acid (C12:0) and palmitic acid (C16:0) in melanoma. The identity of these compounds was confirmed by comparison with chemical standards. Increased levels of these fatty acids are likely to be a consequence of up-regulated de novo lipid synthesis, a known characteristic of cancer. Increased oxidative stress is likely to cause an additional increase in lauric acid. Implementation of this study design on larger number of cases will be necessary for the future metabolomics biomarker discovery applications.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11306-013-0523-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Volatile organic compounds; Skin cancer; Metabolites; GCMS; Palmitic acid
Novel molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP)-coated fibers for solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers were prepared by using linezolid as the template molecule. The characteristics and application of these fibers were investigated. The polypyrrole, polythiophene, and poly(3-methylthiophene) coatings were prepared in the electrochemical polymerization way. The molecularly imprinted SPME coatings display a high selectivity toward linezolid. Molecularly imprinted coatings showed a stable and reproducible response without any influence of interferents commonly existing in biological samples. High-performance liquid chromatography with spectroscopic UV and mass spectrometry (MS) detectors were used for the determination of selected antibiotic drugs (linezolid, daptomycin, amoxicillin). The isolation and preconcentration of selected antibiotic drugs from new types of biological samples (acellular and protein-free simulated body fluid) and human plasma samples were performed. The SPME MIP-coated fibers are suitable for the selective extraction of antibiotic drugs in biological samples.
Solid-phase microextraction; Antibiotic drugs; High-performance liquid chromatography; Mass spectrometry; Chemistry; Biochemistry, general; Characterization and Evaluation of Materials; Analytical Chemistry; Environmental Monitoring/Analysis; Food Science; Laboratory Medicine
The vials used for the preparation of breath samples for automated solid-phase microextraction–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis are crimped with septa. These septa often emit specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) confounding the measurement results of breath samples. In the current paper, 14 different brands of magnetic caps with silicone–polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), butyl–PTFE, or butyl rubber septa were tested. The total emission of septa over a 4 h period was also evaluated. The tested septa emitted 39 different compounds, which are mainly hydrocarbons, alcohols, and ketones. Acetone and toluene are the most abundant out-gassing products. The concentration of acetone was in the range from 55 to 694 ppb for butyl–PTFE septum (brand 14) and butyl rubber (brand 10), respectively. The measured toluene amount was 69–1323 ppb for the septum brand 14 and brand 8 (silicone–PTFE), respectively. Generally, the butyl rubber septa released higher amounts of contaminants in comparison to the silicone ones.
Catabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids plays an important role in the development of cheese flavor. During ripening, cystathionine β-lyase (CBL) is believed to contribute to the formation of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) such as methanethiol and dimethyl disulfide. However, the role of CBL in the generation of VSCs from the catabolism of specific sulfur-containing amino acids is not well characterized. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of CBL in VSC formation by Lactobacillus helveticus CNRZ 32 using genetic variants of L. helveticus CNRZ 32 including the CBL-null mutant, complementation of the CBL-null mutant, and the CBL overexpression mutant. The formation of VSCs from methionine, cystathionine, and cysteine was determined in a model system using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry with solid-phase microextraction. With methionine as a substrate, CBL overexpression resulted in higher VSC production than that of wild-type L. helveticus CNRZ 32 or the CBL-null mutant. However, there were no differences in VSC production between the wild type and the CBL-null mutant. With cystathionine, methanethiol production was detected from the CBL overexpression variant and complementation of the CBL-null mutant, implying that CBL may be involved in the conversion of cystathionine to methanethiol. With cysteine, no differences in VSC formation were observed between the wild type and genetic variants, indicating that CBL does not contribute to the conversion of cysteine.
Beef chops were stored at 4°C under different conditions: in air (A), modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP), vacuum packaging (V), or bacteriocin-activated antimicrobial packaging (AV). After 0 to 45 days of storage, analyses were performed to determine loads of spoilage microorganisms, microbial metabolites (by solid-phase microextraction [SPME]-gas chromatography [GC]-mass spectrometry [MS] and proton nuclear magnetic resonance [1H NMR]), and microbial diversity (by PCR–denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis [DGGE] and pyrosequencing). The microbiological shelf life of meat increased with increasing selectivity of storage conditions. Culture-independent analysis by pyrosequencing of DNA extracted directly from meat showed that Brochothrix thermosphacta dominated during the early stages of storage in A and MAP, while Pseudomonas spp. took over during further storage in A. Many different bacteria, several of which are usually associated with soil rather than meat, were identified in V and AV; however, lactic acid bacteria (LAB) dominated during the late phases of storage, and Carnobacterium divergens was the most frequent microorganism in AV. Among the volatile metabolites, butanoic acid was associated with the growth of LAB under V and AV storage conditions, while acetoin was related to the other spoilage microbial groups and storage conditions. 1H NMR analysis showed that storage in air was associated with decreases in lactate, glycogen, IMP, and ADP levels and with selective increases in levels of 3-methylindole, betaine, creatine, and other amino acids. The meat microbiota is significantly affected by storage conditions, and its changes during storage determine complex shifts in the metabolites produced, with a potential impact on meat quality.