Can we trust mass spectrometry for determination of arsenic peptides in plants: comparison of LC-ICP-MS and LC-ES-MS/ICP-MS with XANES/EXAFS in analysis of Thunbergia alata

Katharina Bluemlein, Andrea Raab, Andrew A Meharg, John M Charnock, Jörg Feldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The weakest step in the analytical procedure for speciation analysis is extraction from a biological material into an aqueous solution which undergoes HPLC separation and then simultaneous online detection by elemental and molecular mass spectrometry (ICP-MS/ES-MS). This paper describes a study to determine the speciation of arsenic and, in particular, the arsenite phytochelatin complexes in the root from an ornamental garden plant Thunbergia alata exposed to 1 mg As L(-1) as arsenate. The approach of formic acid extraction followed by HPLC-ES-MS/ICP-MS identified different As(III)-PC complexes in the extract of this plant and made their quantification via sulfur (m/z 32) and arsenic (m/z 75) possible. Although sulfur sensitivity could be significantly increased when xenon was used as collision gas in ICP-qMS, or when HR-ICP-MS was used in medium resolution, the As:S ratio gave misleading results in the identification of As(III)-PC complexes due to the relatively low resolution of the chromatography system in relation to the variety of As-peptides in plants. Hence only the parallel use of ES-MS/ICP-MS was able to prove the occurrence of such arsenite phytochelatin complexes. Between 55 and 64% of the arsenic was bound to the sulfur of peptides mainly as As(III)(PC(2))(2), As(III)(PC(3)) and As(III)(PC(4)). XANES (X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy) measurement, using the freshly exposed plant root directly, confirmed that most of the arsenic is trivalent and binds to S of peptides (53% As-S) while 38% occurred as arsenite and only 9% unchanged as arsenate. EXAFS data confirmed that As-S and As-O bonds occur in the plants. This study confirms, for the first time, that As-peptides can be extracted by formic acid and chromatographically separated on a reversed-phase column without significant decomposition or de-novo synthesis during the extraction step.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1739-51
Number of pages13
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Volume390
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Can we trust mass spectrometry for determination of arsenic peptides in plants: comparison of LC-ICP-MS and LC-ES-MS/ICP-MS with XANES/EXAFS in analysis of Thunbergia alata'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this