In this study speciation of selenium in selenium-enriched green onions (Allium fistulosum) was done with reversed-phase ion-pairing high performance liquid chromatography (RP-IP-HPLC) and size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) coupled on-line to ICP-MS for selenium specific detection. The plant extract obtained using sodium hydroxide (0.1 mol l−1) analyzed by SEC (CAPS 10 mmol l−1, pH 10.0) with ICP-MS detection showed the incorporation of selenium in both high (∼12 kDa) and low molecular weight (0.36–2 kDa) fractions. Presumably protein bound selenoamino acids were released using enzymes (Proteinase K and Protease XIV) and selenoamino acids found in cytosol in their free form were extracted using 0.1 M HCl. The extracts were analyzed for speciation studies by RP-IP-HPLC [0.1%
(v/v) heptafluorobutyric acid, 5%
(v/v) methanol, pH 2.5]. Matching the chromatographic retention times with commercially available standards provided evidence for the presence of Se-cystine, methylselenocysteine, Se-methionine, and inorganic selenium. Electrospray ionization ion trap mass spectrometry (ESI-ITMS) confirmed the presence of γ-glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine in green onions as has been reported in other onion types.
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