Assistant: Apr. R. t'KINDT

Liquid chromatography Mass spectrometry and metabolomics

Metabolomics is a rapidly growing area in the 'omics'-science. It endeavours to reliably separate and detect as many metabolites as possible in a single analysis. To this goal, we are developing an LC-MS tool to differentially detect, identify (accurate mass using Q-Tof), and quantify metabolites in a relative way. Arabidopsis thaliana metabolites of different classes were chosen as representative compounds for optimisation of ESI-MS and chromatographic conditions. Chromatography is used to obtain a good separation of polar and apolar metabolites in a broad polarity range / limited time gradient. It has to be stressed that complete separation is not the ultimate goal. Once developed, this tool will be tested on native and transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants, resulting inevitably in major overlap of the many metabolite peaks. Single MS detection using high resolution data will alleviate identification uncertainty of coeluting metabolites. This will be based on post-analysis data treatment using the accurate mass data. A extraction of limited selectivity, in order to analyse as many metabolites as possible, is developed. Bioinformatics will be used to detect subtle changes in metabolite patterns between native and transgenic species.

By Apr. Ruben t'Kindt