Detection of trace concentrations of amino acid in aqueous solutions by Ion-pairing reversed-phase UPLC-ESI-QToF-MS: application to hydrothermal fluids
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Amino acids are the fundamental building blocks of proteins that are required for the initiation of living organism, therefore they are key compounds in the origin of life quest. The abiotic production of amino acids within ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal systems was suggested a few decades ago and is strongly supported by thermodynamic data and experimental work. However, field data were clearly lacking and thus investigation of amino acids in fluids from ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal systems was of major importance. Even though amino acids analysis have been carried out routinely for several decades in various field of application, none of the currently available methods appeared suitable for our purpose because of the complexity of the hydrothermal fluids matrix (salts, minerals, gases) and the extremely low concentrations of amino acids that were expected. We took up the challenge and here we describe a method to detect underivatized amino acids down to the sub-ppb level in aqueous matrix by ion-pairing reverse-phase Ultra-high Performance Liquid Chromatography - Electrospray Ionisation - Quadrupole Time of Flight - Mass Spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS). Characterisation and separation of 10 chosen proteinogenic amino acids was achieved and excellent linearity in the response was obtained for all amino acids with correlation coefficient > 0.9921. This analytical method was successfully applied to natural hydrothermal fluid samples from ultramafic-hosted vents of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge region. Tryptophan and Phenylalanine were clearly evidenced in the fluids and concentrations of Leucine reached 15-55 ppt. We suggest that other amino acids are present in hydrothermal fluids but occur for the major part as metal and/or clay complexes and could not be detected using current approach. Finally, concentrations of amino acids measured in the deep seawater reference sample were in good agreement with generally accepted background level in the deep ocean.
Amino acids, UPLC, QToF, hydrothermal
Analytical Chemistry Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject Geochemistry
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29195OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-29195DiVA: diva2:231457