Sheathless Capillary Electrophoresis-Mass Spectrometry for the Profiling of Charged Metabolites in Biological Samples

  • Rawi Ramautar
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1738)


Capillary electrophoresis (CE) is well suited for the profiling of highly polar and charged metabolites as compounds are separated on the basis of their charge-to-size ratio. The protocol presented here is based on using a recently developed sheathless interfacing design, i.e., a porous tip interface, for coupling CE to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (MS). It is demonstrated that sheathless CE-MS employing a bare fused-silica capillary at low-pH separation conditions can be used for the profiling of both cationic and anionic metabolites by only switching the MS detection and electrophoretic separation voltage polarity. The proposed sheathless CE-MS protocol allows efficient and sensitive profiles to be obtained for a broad array of charged metabolites, including amino acids, organic acids, nucleotides, and sugar phosphates, in various biological samples, such as urine and extracts of the glioblastoma cell line.

Key words

Capillary electrophoresis Mass spectrometry Sheathless interface Metabolomics Biological samples Cationic metabolites Anionic metabolites 



Dr. Rawi Ramautar would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Veni and Vidi grant scheme of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO Veni 722.013.008 and Vidi 723.016.003).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden Academic Center for Drug ResearchLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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