Prof. Guanbo Wang published a research paper in METHODS (201807,144,3-13)
Polysaccharide characterization posts the most difficult challenge to available analytical technologies compared to other types of biomolecules. Plant polysaccharides are reported to have numerous medicinal values, but their effect can be different based on the types of plants, and even regions of productions and conditions of cultivation. However, the molecular basis of the differences of these polysaccharides is largely unknown. In this study, direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) was used to generate polysaccharide fingerprints. Large saccharides can break down into characteristic small fragments in the DART source via pyrolysis, and the products are then detected by high resolution MS. Temperature was shown to be a crucial parameter for the decomposition of large polysaccharide. The general behavior of carbohydrates in DART-MS was also studied through the investigation of a number of mono- and oligosaccharide standards. The chemical formula and putative ionic forms of the fragments were proposed based on accurate mass with less than 10 ppm mass errors. Multivariate data analysis shows the clear differentiation of different plant species. Intensities of marker ions compared among samples also showed obvious differences. The combination of DART-MS analysis and mechanochemical extraction method used in this work demonstrates a simple, fast, and high throughput analytical protocol for the efficient evaluation of molecular features in plant polysaccharides.