Development of a method for comprehensive and quantitative analysis of plant hormones by highly sensitive nanoflow liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry

Yoshihiro Izumi, Atsushi Okazawa, Takeshi Bamba, Akio Kobayashi, Eiichiro Fukusaki

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In recent plant hormone research, there is an increased demand for a highly sensitive and comprehensive analytical approach to elucidate the hormonal signaling networks, functions, and dynamics. We have demonstrated the high sensitivity of a comprehensive and quantitative analytical method developed with nanoflow liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-IT-MS/MS) under multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) in plant hormone profiling. Unlabeled and deuterium-labeled isotopomers of four classes of plant hormones and their derivatives, auxins, cytokinins (CK), abscisic acid (ABA), and gibberellins (GA), were analyzed by this method. The optimized nanoflow-LC-ESI-IT-MS/MS method showed ca. 5-10-fold greater sensitivity than capillary-LC-ESI-IT-MS/MS, and the detection limits (S/N = 3) of several plant hormones were in the sub-fmol range. The results showed excellent linearity (R2 values of 0.9937-1.0000) and reproducibility of elution times (relative standard deviations, RSDs, <1.1%) and peak areas (RSDs, <10.7%) for all target compounds. Further, sample purification using Oasis HLB and Oasis MCX cartridges significantly decreased the ion-suppressing effects of biological matrix as compared to the purification using only Oasis HLB cartridge. The optimized nanoflow-LC-ESI-IT-MS/MS method was successfully used to analyze endogenous plant hormones in Arabidopsis and tobacco samples. The samples used in this analysis were extracted from only 17 tobacco dry seeds (1 mg DW), indicating that the efficiency of analysis of endogenous plant hormones strongly depends on the detection sensitivity of the method. Our analytical approach will be useful for in-depth studies on complex plant hormonal metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 26 2009
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

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