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High-Throughput Detection of an Alkaloidal Plant Metabolome in Plant Extracts Using LC-ESI-QTOF-MS

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-07-26, 12:03 authored by Bibi Zareena, Adeeba Khadim, Syed Usama Y. Jeelani, Saddam Hussain, Arslan Ali, Syed Ghulam Musharraf
Plant alkaloids represent a diverse group of nitrogen-containing natural products. These compounds are considered valuable in drug discovery and development. High-throughput identification of such plant secondary metabolites in complex plant extracts is essential for drug discovery, lead optimization, and understanding the biological pathway. The present study aims to rapidly identify different classes of alkaloids in plant extracts through the liquid chromatography with electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–ESI-MS/MS) approach using 161 isolated and purified alkaloids. These are biologically important unique alkaloids belonging to different sub-classes such as isoquinoline, quinoline, indole, tropane, pyridine, piperidine, quinolizidine, aporphine, steroidal, and terpenoid. The majority of these are not available commercially and are known to manifest valuable biological activities. Four pools of a maximum of 50 phytostandards each were prepared, based on their log P value to minimize co-elution for rapid and cost-effective analyses. MS/MS spectra were acquired in the positive ionization mode by using their [M + H]+ and/or [M + Na]+ with both the average collisional energy (25.5–62 eV) and individual collisional energies (10, 20, 30, and 40 eV). Accurate mass, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) data, MS/MS data, and retention times were curated for each compound. The developed LC–MS/MS method was successfully used to interrogate and fast dereplicate alkaloids in 13 medicinal plant extracts and a herbal formulation. A total of 56 alkaloids were identified based on the reference standard retention times (RTs), HR-MS spectra, and/or MS/MS spectra. The MS data have been submitted to the MetaboLights online database (MTBLS2914). The mass spectrometric and chromatographic data will be useful for the discovery of new congeners and the study of biological pathways of alkaloids in the plant kingdom.