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Development of a targeted HPLC-ESI-QqQ-MS/MS method for the quantification of sulfolipids from a cyanobacterium, selected leafy vegetables, and a microalgae species

Fischer, Judith; Treblin, Mascha; Sitz, Tobias; Rohn, Sascha

FG Lebensmittelchemie und Analytik

The use of macro- and microalgae, as well as cyanobacteria, becomes increasingly important for human nutrition, even in Western diets. Health effects, positive as well as negative, are believed to result mainly from minor components in the food. In macro- and microalgae as well as in certain cyanobacteria, one class of such minor compounds is sulfolipids, more precisely sulfoquinovosylmonoacylglycerol (SQMG) and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerol (SQDG) derivatives. SQMGs and SQDGs consist of a diacylglycerol esterified with varying fatty acid combinations and a sulfoquinovose moiety. Sulfoquinovose is a sulfonated hexose analogous to D-glucose, but featuring a stable carbon-sulfur bond. With regard to their chemical structure, SQDGs can be distinguished according to their sn1- and sn2-bound fatty acids. Although there is great interest in SQDGs, because of their controversially discussed bioactivities, only a negligible number of comprehensive methods for identification and quantification has been published, so far. Within this work, a sample preparation including a quantitative isolation of SQDGs from selected raw materials, a clean-up with solid-phase extraction (SPE), and a sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for simultaneous identification and quantitation of different, intact SQMGs and SQDGs were developed and validated. The applicability of the method was further demonstrated by comparing a prominent cyanobacterium (Arthrospira sp.) with a microalgae preparation (Chlorella vulgaris), and selected leafy vegetables (spinach, basil).