Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 25, pp 8151–8170 | Cite as

Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry for metabolic footprinting of co-cultures of lactic and propionic acid bacteria

  • Anders H. Honoré
  • Michael Thorsen
  • Thomas Skov


Co-cultures of specific lactic and propionic acid bacteria have been shown to have an antagonistic effect against yeast and moulds in dairy systems. In studies of these co-cultures by bioassay-guided fractionation and analysis, numerous compounds have been reported to inhibit yeast and moulds. Although active, the compounds do not account for the full effect observed. Instead, the inhibitory action in the co-culture is believed to be a result of synergy between known exo-metabolites, depletion of nutrients, and/or compounds not yet identified. Untargeted metabolomics or metabolic footprinting could be a potent approach to elucidation of the mechanism. The purpose of this review is to discuss the two pre-requisites for such a study—the compound classes expected in the co-cultures, and on the basis of these, the most suitable analytical technique(s). Ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (MS) via electrospray ionisation (ESI) operated in both positive and negative modes is regarded as the optimum instrumental technique. The applicability of a range of liquid chromatographic techniques ranging from ion-pair (IPC) and hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) to reversed-phase chromatography (RPC) is discussed in terms of the expected metabolome. Use of both HILIC and RPC is suggested, on account of the complementarity of these modes. The most promising strategy uses a combination of the two electrospray polarities and two modes of LC. The strategy recommended in this study does not include all compound classes, and suggestions for supplementary methods are listed.


Bacterial co-cultures Exo-metabolome LC–MS Modes of separation 



Adenosine diphosphate


Adenosine triphosphate


Atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation


Coenzyme A


Electrospray ionisation


Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance


Full width half maximum


Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography


High-performance liquid chromatography


Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


Ion-pairing chromatography


Ion trap


Lactic acid bacteria


Linear ion trap


Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry


Mass-to-charge ratio


Matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionisation


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Hydroxyphenyllactic acid


Propionic acid bacteria




Phenyllactic acid




Quadrupole time-of-flight


Reversed-phase chromatography


Retention time




Ultrahigh/ultra-performance liquid chromatography





This work was partially financed by The Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anders H. Honoré
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Thorsen
    • 1
  • Thomas Skov
    • 2
  1. 1.DuPont Nutrition Biosciences Aps, Advanced AnalysisBrabrandDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Food Science, Quality and TechnologyUniversity of Copenhagen, Faculty of ScienceFrederiksberg CDenmark

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