Micellar electrokinetic chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry employing a volatile surfactant for the analysis of amino acids in human urine.

PMID 23857580


A new MEKC-ESI-MS method for the analysis of amino acids (AAs) in human urine was developed employing ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) as volatile surfactant. The influence of APFO on the MS signal of AAs was evaluated by infusion experiments, which showed that APFO hardly affects analyte responses and presents significantly less ion suppression than equal concentrations of ammonium acetate. In order to obtain efficient separation of AAs, MEKC parameters such as the pH and APFO concentration of the BGE, were optimized. Optimum AA resolution, including baseline separation of leucine and isoleucine, was obtained using 150 mM APFO (pH 9.0) as BGE, representing a considerable selectivity improvement over CE using 50 mM ammonium acetate (pH 9.0). Optimization of CE-MS parameters, such as sheath liquid composition and flow rate, and ESI and MS settings, led to LODs ranging from 9 to 26 ng/mL for the 20 tested AAs, which is highly favorable for an MEKC-MS method. Good linearity (r(2) > 0.99) and repeatability were obtained for all AAs tested with RSD values of 3.0-6.7% for peak area and <1.5% for migration time. The applicability of the MEKC-MS method was demonstrated by the quantitative determination of AAs in urine employing only a 1:1 dilution with BGE as sample pretreatment. All AAs could selectively be detected and quantified obtaining relevant concentration values for normal human urine.