Mass Spectrometry of Nitrogen Compounds in Ecological Microbiology
New ionization techniques recently introduced in mass spectrometry (MS) have been successfully applied in determination of the structure and molecular weight of amino acids, amines, and other nitrogen-containing compounds. Fragmentation pathways of derivatives of these compounds can now be obtained with EI, CI, radionuclide fission fragmentation, and negative ion MS. Applications of MS also benefit from the development of higher accuracy in isotopic measurements and new techniques for derivatization and vaporization. Three areas of research in ecological microbiology are particularly interesting in the light of advances in mass spectrometric techniques: (1) Structure elucidation of metabolites; (2) quantitative MS; (3) isotope ratio measurements. Although the power of modern MS in research on nitrogen compounds has been demonstrated in some fields of application, such as biochemistry and medicine, comparatively few papers have reported applications of MS in ecological microbiology. The following is an attempt to describe some efforts to use MS to elucidate information on microbial activity of ecological significance.
KeywordsNitrogen Compound Fumaric Acid Isotope Ratio Measurement Pipecolic Acid Diaminopimelic Acid
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