The rapid and unambiguous distinction of isomeric carbohydrate structures persists as a tremendous analytical challenge. This paper reports the first exploitation of carbohydrate/metal ion interactions in concert with gas-phase ion chemistry to improve discrimination of oligosaccharide isomers by both ion mobility spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry. This is demonstrated for two isomeric pentasaccharides and two isomeric hexasaccharides, each studied in an underivatized form as their calcium ion adducts, barium ion adducts, and gas-phase electron transfer products thereof. With appropriate selection of the charge carrier, transfer of a single electron to the carbohydrate metal ion adducts resulted in isomer-distinguishing shifts in their ion/neutral collision cross sections and the appearance of unique features in their vibrational activation/dissociation spectra. These findings suggest novel and elegant gas-phase strategies for rapid differentiation of isomeric oligosaccharides.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry