A direct and simple method of coupling matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) to thin-layer chromatography (TLC) for the analysis of phospholipids from egg yolk
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- Fuchs, B., Schiller, J., Süß, R. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2007) 389: 827. doi:10.1007/s00216-007-1488-4
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Although the most important application of matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is “proteomics,” there is growing evidence that this soft ionization method is also useful for phospholipid (PL) analysis. Although all PLs are detectable by MALDI-TOF MS, some lipid classes, particularly those with quaternary amines such as phosphatidylcholines (PCs), are more sensitively detected than others, and these suppress the signals of less sensitively detected PLs when complex mixtures are analyzed. Therefore, a separation of the total organic extract into individual lipid classes is necessary. As MALDI uses a solid sample, the direct evaluation of thin-layer chromatography (TLC) plates is possible. We report here on a method of directly coupling MALDI-TOF MS and TLC that can be easily implemented on commercially available MALDI-TOF devices. A total extract of hen egg yolk is used as a simple PL mixture to demonstrate the capabilities of this method. It will be shown that “clean” spectra without any major contributions from fragmentation products and matrix peaks can be obtained, and that this approach is even sensitive enough to detect the presence of PLs at levels of less than 1% of the total extract.