Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Development and application of a high-throughput sample cleanup process based on 96-well plate for simultaneous determination of 16 steroids in biological matrices using liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry.

PMID 26738495


A novel high-throughput sample pretreatment system was developed by the integration of protein precipitation (PP), phospholipid removal (PPR), and hollow fiber liquid-phase microextraction (HF-LPME) into two simple 96-well plates and a matching 96-grid lid. With this system, 16 steroids were separated from biological matrices of plasma, milk, and urine and analyzed by liquid chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. In the tandem sample cleanup process, the prepositive PP and PPR step preliminarily removed some of the interferences from the biological matrices. The following HF-LPME step kept the residual interference out of the hollow fiber and enriched the steroids in the hollow fiber to achieve high sensitivity. By a series of method optimizations, acetonitrile was chosen as the crash solvent for PP and PPR. A mixture of octanol and toluene (1:1 v/v) was used as the acceptor phase for HF-LPME. The extraction was conducted at 80 rpm for 50 min in a donor phase containing 1 mL 20% sodium chloride at 25 °C. Under these conditions, the limits of detection for the 16 steroids were 3.6-300.0 pg(.)mL(-1) in plasma, 3.0-270.0 pg·mL(-1) in milk, and 2.2-210.0 pg(.)mL(-1) in urine. The recoveries of the 16 steroids were 81.9-97.9% in plasma (relative standard deviation 1.0-8.0%), 80.6-97.7% in milk (relative standard deviation 0.8-5.4%), and 87.3-98.7% in urine (relative standard deviation 1.0-4.9%). Further, the integrated 96-well platform of PP, PPR, and HF-LPME enabled us to run this assay in an automatic and high-throughput fashion. The reliability of the method was further corroborated by evaluation of its applicability in plasma and urine samples from volunteers and fresh bovine milk from local dairy enterprises.

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