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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2016, Article ID 9269357, 8 pages
Research Article

Liquid Chromatography with Electrospray Ionization and Tandem Mass Spectrometry Applied in the Quantitative Analysis of Chitin-Derived Glucosamine for a Rapid Estimation of Fungal Biomass in Soil

Department of Natural Sciences, Mid Sweden University, 851 70 Sundsvall, Sweden

Received 2 September 2015; Accepted 12 January 2016

Academic Editor: Frantisek Foret

Copyright © 2016 Madelen A. Olofsson and Dan Bylund. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This method employs liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to rapidly quantify chitin-derived glucosamine for estimating fungal biomass. Analyte retention was achieved using hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography, with a zwitter-ionic stationary phase (ZIC-HILIC), and isocratic elution using 60% 5 mM ammonium formate buffer (pH 3.0) and 40% ACN. Inclusion of muramic acid and its chromatographic separation from glucosamine enabled calculation of the bacterial contribution to the latter. Galactosamine, an isobaric isomer to glucosamine, found in significant amounts in soil samples, was also investigated. The two isomers form the same precursor and product ions and could not be chromatographically separated using this rapid method. Instead, glucosamine and galactosamine were distinguished mathematically, using the linear relationships describing the differences in product ion intensities for the two analytes. The m/z transitions of 180 72 and 180 84 were applied for the detection of glucosamine and galactosamine and that of 252 126 for muramic acid. Limits of detection were in the nanomolar range for all included analytes. The total analysis time was 6 min, providing a high sample throughput method.