A hydrophilic interaction chromatography coupled to a mass spectrometry for the determination of glutathione in plant somatic embryos
An electrospray ionization mass spectrometric (ESI-MS) determination of glutathione (GSH), a sulfur-containing tripeptide (gamma-Glu-Cys-Gly) with regulation and detoxication functions in metabolisms of most living organisms, from nanomolar to micromolar levels is described. A hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC) with an isocratic elution using a mobile phase containing acetonitrile and an aqueous 0.00005% solution of trifluoroacetic acid (60/40%, v/v) was applied for the separation of GSH. The peptide detection was achieved in the presence of L-ascorbic acid which significantly enhanced the signal intensity of the molecular ion GSH [ M + H](+) (m/z 308). The calibration curve was linear (R-2 = 0.9995) in the concentration range from 2 nM to 10 mu M with a detection limit (LOD, S/N = 3) of 0.5 nM. The excellent detection limit, and the excellent selectivity and high reproducibility of this method enabled determination of GSH in a single plant somatic embryo of a Norway spruce ( Picea abies). The average amount of GSH in the single somatic embryos (n = 18) was 9 pmol per embryo. Owing to our results, it can be supposed that the proposed HILIC/ESI-MS analysis might be used for GSH determination in microscopic cell structures and in single cell analyses.