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Creating a Mass Spectral Reference Library for Oligosaccharides in Milk



Concepcion A. Remoroza, Tytus D. Mak, M. L. De Leoz, Yuri A. Mirokhin, Stephen E. Stein


We report the development and availability of a mass spectral reference library for oligosaccharides in human milk. This represents a new variety of spectral library that includes consensus spectra of compounds annotated through various data analysis methods – a concept the can be extended to other varieties of biological fluids. Oligosaccharides from the NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM) 1953, composed of human milk pooled from 100 breastfeeding mothers, were identified and characterized using Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Tandem Mass Spectrometry (HILIC-ESI-MS/MS) and the NIST 17 Tandem MS Library. Consensus reference spectra were generated, incorporated into a searchable library and matched using the newly developed Hybrid Search algorithm to elucidate unknown oligosaccharides. The NIST Hybrid Search program facilitates the structural assignment of complex oligosaccharides especially when reference standards are not commercially available. High accuracy mass measurement for precursor and product ions, as well as the relatively high MS/MS signal intensities of various oligosaccharide precursors with FTIT and HCD fragmentation techniques, enabled the assignment of multiple free and underivatized fucosyllacto- and sialyllacto-oligosaccharides spectra. Neutral and sialylated isomeric oligosaccharides have distinct retention times, allowing the identification of 74 oligosaccharides in the reference material. This collection of newly characterized spectra based on a searchable, reference MS library of annotated oligosaccharides, can be applied to analyze similar compounds in other types of milk or any biological fluid containing milk oligosaccharides.
Analytical Chemistry


"HILIC-ESI-MS/MS, Human milk, glycomics, SRM 1953, oligosaccharides, Tandem Mass Spectral Library, Isomers, FTIT, HCD"


Remoroza, C. , Mak, T. , De, M. , Mirokhin, Y. and Stein, S. (2018), Creating a Mass Spectral Reference Library for Oligosaccharides in Milk, Analytical Chemistry, [online], (Accessed June 21, 2024)


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Created July 3, 2018, Updated February 17, 2020