High-spatial resolution and high-mass resolution techniques are developed and adopted for the mass spectrometric imaging of epicuticular lipids on the surface of Arabidopsis thaliana. Single cell level spatial resolution of ∼12 μm was achieved by reducing the laser beam size by using an optical fiber with 25 μm core diameter in a vacuum matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-linear ion trap (vMALDI-LTQ) mass spectrometer and improved matrix application using an oscillating capillary nebulizer. Fine chemical images of a whole flower were visualized in this high spatial resolution showing substructure of an anther and single pollen grains at the stigma and anthers. The LTQ-Orbitrap with a MALDI ion source was adopted to achieve MS imaging in high mass resolution. Specifically, isobaric silver ion adducts of C29 alkane (m/z 515.3741) and C28 aldehyde (m/z 515.3377), indistinguishable in low-resolution LTQ, can now be clearly distinguished and their chemical images could be separately constructed. In the application to roots, the high spatial resolution allowed molecular MS imaging of secondary roots and the high mass resolution allowed direct identification of lipid metabolites on root surfaces.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/basil-nikolau/12/