Close this search box.

Separating Isomeric Lipids in IMS-TOF: Application Note

The TOFWERK IMS-TOF changes the playing field by offering a huge leap in mobility resolving power that can be achieved with commercial systems.

Lipids are one of the 4 major classes of biomolecules, but it is only recently becoming clear that they are used for a vast variety of biological functions going beyond fat storage. This is because the necessary improvements in analytical technology, chiefly mass spectrometry, have only become available in the last few years.

It is estimated that there are between 10’000 and 100’000 distinct chemical entities. A large number of these separate entities are isomers. This means that even if you have an imaginary mass spectrometer with a mass resolving power of 10 million you will not be able to distinguish them.

Ion mobility is a separation technology that is mostly orthogonal to both chromatography and mass spectrometry and selects molecules based on their collisional cross section by observing how they behave when colliding with gas molecules. This application note investigates how this high resolution mobility system can be used to separate phosphatidylcholine (PC) isomers which only differ in the position of their double bonds.

Separating cis PC Isomers
High Resolution Ion Mobility Separates these Phosphatidylcholines Based on the Positions of the Double Bonds

Here is a quick overview of what can be found in the application note:

  • LC-MS and direct infusion high-resolution MS usually fail to resolve isomers in complex biological samples such as lipid extracts
  • Ion mobility spectrometry with a high resolving power can be used for separation of isomers without adding experimental complexity
  • Operation of the system above atmospheric pressure and the use of novel post-processing algorithms push the resolving power beyond 250

Learn More

IMS-TOF Product Page