Quantitation of low molecular weight sugars by chemical derivatization-liquid chromatography/multiple reaction monitoring/mass spectrometry

Electrophoresis. 2016 Jul;37(13):1851-60. doi: 10.1002/elps.201600150. Epub 2016 May 27.


A new method for the separation and quantitation of 13 mono- and disaccharides has been developed by chemical derivatization/ultra-HPLC/negative-ion ESI-multiple-reaction monitoring MS. 3-Nitrophenylhydrazine (at 50°C for 60 min) was shown to be able to quantitatively derivatize low-molecular weight (LMW) reducing sugars. The nonreducing sugar, sucrose, was not derivatized. A pentafluorophenyl-bonded phase column was used for the chromatographic separation of the derivatized sugars. This method exhibits femtomole-level sensitivity, high precision (CVs of ≤ 4.6%) and high accuracy for the quantitation of LMW sugars in wine. Excellent linearity (R(2) ≥ 0.9993) and linear ranges of ∼500-fold for disaccharides and ∼1000-4000-fold for monosaccharides were achieved. With internal calibration ((13) C-labeled internal standards), recoveries were between 93.6% ± 1.6% (xylose) and 104.8% ± 5.2% (glucose). With external calibration, recoveries ranged from 82.5% ± 0.8% (ribulose) to 105.2% ± 2.1% (xylulose). Quantitation of sugars in two red wines and two white wines was performed using this method; quantitation of the central carbon metabolism-related carboxylic acids and tartaric acid was carried out using a previously established derivatization procedure with 3-nitrophenylhydrazine as well. The results showed that these two classes of compounds-both of which have important organoleptic properties-had different compositions in red and white wines.

Keywords: 3-Nitrophenylhydrazine; Chemical derivatization; Low molecular weight sugars; Ultra-HPLC-multiple reaction monitoring MS; Wine.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Monosaccharides / analysis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Wine / analysis


  • Monosaccharides