In-depth structural analysis of glycans in the gas phase
Although there have been substantial improvements in glycan analysis over the past decade, the lack of both high-resolution and high-throughput methods hampers progress in glycomics. This perspective article highlights the current developments of liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, ion-mobility spectrometry and cryogenic IR spectroscopy for glycan analysis and gives a critical insight to their individual strengths and limitations. Moreover, we discuss a novel concept in which ion mobility-mass spectrometry and cryogenic IR spectroscopy is combined in a single instrument such that datasets consisting of m/z, collision cross sections and IR fingerprints can be obtained. This multidimensional data will then be compared to a comprehensive reference library of intact glycans and their fragments to accurately identify unknown glycans on a high-throughput scale with minimal sample requirements. Due to the complementarity of the obtained information, this novel approach is highly diagnostic and also suitable for the identification of larger glycans; however, the workflow and instrumentation is straightforward enough to be implemented into a user-friendly setup.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Most popular 2018-2019 analytical chemistry articles