Comparative metabolomic study of transgenic versus conventional soybean using capillary electrophoresis-time-of-flight mass spectrometry

J Chromatogr A. 2008 Jun 27;1195(1-2):164-73. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.05.018. Epub 2008 May 14.


In this work, capillary electrophoresis-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CE-TOF-MS) is proposed to identify and quantify the main metabolites found in transgenic soybean and its corresponding non-transgenic parental line both grown under identical conditions. The procedure includes optimization of metabolites extraction, separation by CE, on-line electrospray-TOF-MS analysis and data evaluation. A large number of extraction procedures and background electrolytes are tested in order to obtain a highly reproducible and sensitive analytical methodology. Using this approach, a large number of metabolites were tentatively identified based on the high mass accuracy provided by TOF-MS analyzer, together with the isotopic pattern and expected electrophoretic mobility of these compounds. In general, the same metabolites and in similar amounts were found in the conventional and transgenic variety. However, significant differences were also observed in some specific cases when the conventional variety was compared with its corresponding transgenic line. The selection of these metabolites as possible biomarkers of transgenic soybean is discussed, although a larger number of samples need to be analyzed in order to validate this point. It is concluded that metabolomic procedures based on CE-MS can open new perspectives in the study of transgenic foods in order to corroborate (or not) the equivalence with their conventional counterparts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrophoresis, Capillary / methods*
  • Plant Preparations / analysis
  • Plant Preparations / chemistry
  • Plant Preparations / isolation & purification
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism*
  • Soybeans / genetics
  • Soybeans / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*


  • Plant Preparations