High-performance liquid chromatography drift-tube ion-mobility quadrupole time-of-flight/mass spectrometry for the identity confirmation and characterization of metabolites from three statins (lipid-lowering drugs) in the model plant cress (Lepidium sativum) after uptake from water.


Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Kepler University, Altenberger Strasse 69, 4040 Linz, Austria. Electronic address: [Email]


This work describes the metabolization of three different statins (lipid-lowering drugs) namely Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin and Simvastatin in the model plant cress (Lepidium sativum) after uptake from the growing medium. Analyzing plant extracts with HPLC hyphenated with a drift-tube ion-mobility quadrupole time-of-flight / mass spectrometer allowed the identity confirmation of more than 45 metabolites, resulting from oxidation/dehydrogenation, dehydration or hydroxylation of the parent drug or conjugation with amino acids and sugars. Metabolites were characterized by their retention times, m/z ratios, fragmentation patterns in MS/MS experiments, and their collision cross sections. Furthermore, a targeted analysis method for the trace-level analysis of the parent drugs as well as their metabolites in plant extracts was implemented by using HPLC coupled to triple quadrupole mass spectrometry in the multiple reaction monitoring mode. This approach was applied to study the metabolite distribution within the plant and to detect relative changes in metabolite concentrations as a function of growth time. Using a modified QuEChERS approach for extraction more than 50% of the metabolites could be still detected, if plants were exposed to only 1-10 μg L-1 of each statin.


Drift-tube ion mobility-mass spectrometry,Environmental analysis,Pharmaceuticals,Plant metabolism,Statins,