Kinetics of labelling of organic and amino acids in potato tubers by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry following incubation in (13)C labelled isotopes

Plant J. 2004 Aug;39(4):668-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02157.x.


Metabolic pathways of primary metabolism of discs isolated from potato tubers were evaluated by the use of a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method generated specifically for this purpose. After testing several possible methods including chemical ionization, it was decided for reasons of sensitivity, reproducibility and speed to use electron impact ionization-based GC-MS analysis. The specific labelling and label accumulation of over 30 metabolites including a broad number of sugars, organic and amino acids was analysed following the incubation of tuber discs in [U-(13)C]glucose. The reproducibility of this method was similar to that found for other GC-MS-based analyses and comparison of flux estimates from this method with those obtained from parallel, yet less comprehensive, radiolabel experiments revealed close agreement. Therefore, the novel method allows quantitatively evaluation of a broad range of metabolic pathways without the need for laborious (and potentially inaccurate), chemical fractionation procedures commonly used in the estimation of fluxes following incubation in radiolabelled substrates. As a first experiment the GC-MS method has been applied to compare the metabolism of wild type and well-characterized transgenic potato tubers exhibiting an enhanced sucrose mobilization. The fact that this method is able to rapidly yield further comprehensive information into primary metabolism illustrates its power as a further phenotyping tool for the analysis of plant metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry*
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Isotope Labeling / methods
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Solanum tuberosum / chemistry*


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Organic Chemicals