Comparison of rapid liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry methods for determination of glycoalkaloids in transgenic field-grown potatoes

Authors Organisations
  • Britta Zywicki(Author)
    Max Planck Institute, Golm
  • Gareth Catchpole(Author)
    Max Planck Institute, Golm
  • Oliver Fiehn(Author)
    Max Planck Institute, Golm
  • John Draper(Author)
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
Early online date23 Nov 2004
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2005
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Two rapid methods for highly selective detection and quantification of the two major glycoalkaloids in potatoes, α-chaconine and α-solanine, were compared for robustness in high-throughput operations for over 1000 analytical runs using potato tuber samples from field trials. Glycoalkaloids were analyzed using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry in multiple reaction monitoring mode. An electrospray interface was used in the detection of glycoalkaloids in positive ion mode. Classical reversed phase (RP) and hydrophilic interaction (HILIC) columns were investigated for chromatographic separation, ruggedness, recovery, precision, and accuracy. During the validation procedure both methods proved to be precise and accurate enough in relation to the high degree of endogenous biological variability found for field-grown potato tubers. However, the RP method was found to be more precise, more accurate, and, more importantly, more rugged than the HILIC method for maintaining the analytes’ peak shape symmetry in high-throughput operation. When applied to the comparison of six classically bred potato cultivars to six genetically modified (GM) lines engineered to synthesize health beneficial inulins, the glycoalkaloid content in potato peels of all GM lines was found within the range of the six cultivars. We suggest complementing current unbiased metabolomic strategies by validating quantitative analytical methods for important target analytes such as the toxic glycoalkaloids in potato plants.


  • metabolite profiling, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, reversed phase, hydrophilic interaction, method validation, high-throughoutput screening, substantial equivalence, fructans