Mass Spectrometry

Carbohydrates are challenging to detect, owing to their lack of fluorescence and chromophores. Traditionally, native glycan detection was performed by less sensitive techniques such as ELSD or RI detection. Alternatively, polysaccharides can be derivatised for UV/fluorescent detection but these additional steps (labelling and label clean-up) increase variation, cost, and decrease the separation efficiency compared to label-free glycan analysis.

Mass spectrometry (MS) is a data-dense technique that detects glycans in at least three dimensions. With each dimension of characterization, we can be confident that the glycan we intend to measure is specifically quantified.

Explicitly linked parameters for our mass spectrometric glycan assays

Any glycans unable to be baseline separated by LC are able to be resolved by our unique mass spectrometry methods, owing to the differential fragmentation patterns and optimal collision energies

ParameterOur LC-MS AssayLC FluorescenceMALDI-TOF
Structural specificityExcellentGoodPoor
Retrospective data miningGoodPoorPoor
Sample preparation costExcellentPoorGood
Instrumentation costGoodExcellentGood
Table 1. A comparison of state-of-the-art methods as a function of glycan analysis performance