PCI-GC–MS–MS approach for identification of non-amino organic acid and amino acid profiles

Hemi Luan, Lin Yang, Fenfen Ji, Zongwei CAI*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Alkyl chloroformate have been wildly used for the fast derivatization of metabolites with amino and/or carboxyl groups, coupling of powerful separation and detection systems, such as GC–MS, which allows the comprehensive analysis of non-amino organic acids and amino acids. The reagents involving n-alkyl chloroformate and n-alcohol are generally employed for providing symmetric labeling terminal alkyl chain with the same length. Here, we developed an asymmetric labeling strategy and positive chemical ionization gas chromatography—tandem mass spectrometry (PCI-GC–MS–MS) approach for determination of non-amino organic acids and amino acids, as well as the short chain fatty acids. Carboxylic and amino groups could be selectively labelled by propyl and ethyl groups, respectively. The specific neutral loss of C3H8O (60 Da), C3H5O2 (74 Da) and C4H8O2 (88 Da) were useful in the selective identification for qualitative analysis of organic acids and amino acid derivatives. PCI-GC–MS–MS using multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) was applied for semi-quantification of typical non-amino organic acids and amino acids. This method exhibited a wide range of linear range, good regression coefficient (R2) and repeatability. The relative standard deviation (RSD) of targeted metabolites showed excellent intra- and inter-day precision (<5%). Our method provided a qualitative and semi-quantitative PCI-GC–MS–MS, coupled with alkyl chloroformate derivatization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alkyl chloroformate
  • Amino acids
  • Derivatization
  • Non-amino organic acids


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