Development of a High-Coverage Quantitative Metabolome Analysis Method Using Four-Channel Chemical Isotope Labeling LC-MS for Analyzing High-Salt Fermented Food

J Agric Food Chem. 2022 Jul 20;70(28):8827-8837. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c03481. Epub 2022 Jul 5.


Metabolome analysis of high-salt fermented food can be an analytical challenge, as the salts can interfere with the sample processing and analysis. In this work, we describe a four-channel chemical isotope labeling (CIL) LC-MS approach for a comprehensive metabolome analysis of high-salt fermented food. The workflow includes metabolite extraction, chemical labeling of metabolites using dansyl chloride, dansylhydrazine, or p-dimethylaminophenacyl bromide reagents to enhance separation and ionization, LC-UV measurement of the total concentration of dansyl-labeled metabolites in each sample for sample normalization, mixing of 13C- and 12C-reagent-labeled samples, high-resolution LC-MS analysis, and data processing. Metabolome analysis of fermented foods, including fermented red pepper (FRP) sauce, soy sauce, and sufu (a fermented soybean food), showed unprecedented high metabolic coverage. Metabolome comparison of FRP, soy sauce, and sufu, as well as soy sauce and sufu, indicated great diversity of metabolite types and abundances in these foods. In addition, we analyzed two groups of samples of the same type, FRP with 10% (w/w) and 15% (w/w) salt contents, and detected large variations in multiple categories of metabolites belonging to a number of different metabolic pathways. We envisage that this CIL LC-MS approach can be generally used for metabolomic studies of high-salt fermented food. CIL LC-MS allows high-coverage identification and quantification that could not be done using other methods.

Keywords: LC−MS; chemical isotope labeling; fermented food; high-salt; metabolomics.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Fermented Foods*
  • Isotope Labeling / methods
  • Metabolome
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods