• plant;
  • metabolomics;
  • high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC);
  • ultra high performance (UHP)LC;
  • mass spectrometry (MS)


Over the past decade the application of non-targeted high-throughput metabolomic analysis within the plant sciences has gained ever increasing interest and has truly established itself as a valuable tool for plant functional genomics and studies of plant biochemical composition. Whilst proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy is particularly appropriate for the analysis of bulk metabolites and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOC's) and derivatised primary metabolites, liquid chromatography (LC)-MS is highly applicable to the analysis of a wide range of semi-polar compounds including many secondary metabolites of interest to plant researchers and nutritionists. In view of the recent developments in the separation sciences, leading to the advent of ultra high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and MS based technology showing the ever improving resolution of metabolite species and precision of mass measurements (sub-ppm accuracy now being achievable), this review sets out to introduce the background and update the reader upon LC, high performance (HP)LC and UHPLC, as well as the large range of MS instruments that are being applied in current plant metabolomic studies. As well as covering the theory behind modern day LC-MS, the review also discusses the most relevant metabolomics applications for the wide range of MS instruments that are currently being applied to LC. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.