Profiling of aldehyde-containing compounds by stable isotope labelling-assisted mass spectrometry analysis†
We developed a strategy for non-targeted profiling of aldehyde-containing compounds by stable isotope labelling in combination with liquid chromatography–double neutral loss scan–mass spectrometry (SIL–LC–DNLS–MS) analysis. A pair of stable isotope labelling reagents (4-(2-(trimethylammonio)ethoxy)benzenaminium halide, 4-APC and d4-4-(2-(trimethylammonio)ethoxy)benzenaminium halide, 4-APC-d4) that can selectively label aldehyde-containing compounds were synthesized. The 4-APC and 4-APC-d4 labelled compounds were capable of generating two characteristic neutral fragments of 87 Da and 91 Da, respectively, under collision induced dissociation (CID). Therefore, double neutral loss scans were carried out simultaneously to record the signals of the potential aldehyde-containing compounds. In this respect, the aldehyde-containing compounds from two samples labelled with 4-APC and 4-APC-d4 were ionized at the same time but recorded separately by mass spectrometry. The peak pairs with characteristic mass differences (n × 4 Da) can be readily extracted from the DNLS spectra and assigned as potential aldehyde-containing candidates, which facilitates the identification of the target aldehydes. 4-APC and 4-APC-d4 labelling also dramatically increased detection sensitivities of the derivatives. Using the SIL–LC–DNLS–MS strategy, we successfully profiled the aldehyde-containing compounds in human urine and white wine. Our results showed that 16 and 19 potential aldehyde-containing compounds were discovered in human urine and white wine, respectively. In addition, 5 and 4 aldehyde-containing compounds in human urine and white wine were further identified by comparison with aldehyde standards. Altogether, SIL–LC–DNLS–MS demonstrated to be a promising approach in the identification and relative quantification of aldehyde-containing compounds from complex samples.