Analysis of N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones produced by Burkholderia cepacia with partial filling micellar electrokinetic chromatography – electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry



A method for the analysis of N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) with micellar electrokinetic chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry, combining the flexibility of capillary electrophoresis with the unmatched structural information provided by mass spectrometry is presented. Different surfactants were evaluated, with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) yielding the best results considering sensitivity and flexibility. We examined the interaction of AHLs with the SDS micelles at different analysis conditions and applied the optimized method to the analysis of a real bacterial sample. Two AHLs from Burkholderia cepacia colonizing the rhizosphere of traditional Indian rice cultivars could be unambiguously determined in an ethyl acetate extract with high resolution flexibility.