Resolution of volatile fuel compound profiles from Ascocoryne sarcoides: a comparison by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry and solid phase microextraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
1 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman MT 59717, USA
2 Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman MT 59717, USA
3 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman MT 59717, USA
4 Department of Plant Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman Montana 59717, USA
AMB Express 2012, 2:23 doi:10.1186/2191-0855-2-23Published: 5 April 2012
Volatile hydrocarbon production by Ascocoryne sacroides was studied over its growth cycle. Gas-phase compounds were measured continuously with a proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) and at distinct time points with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) using head space solid phase microextraction (SPME). The PTR-MS ion signal permitted temporal resolution of the volatile production while the SPME results revealed distinct compound identities. The quantitative PTR-MS results showed the volatile production was dominated by ethanol and acetaldehyde, while the concentration of the remainder of volatiles consistently reached 2,000 ppbv. The measurement of alcohols from the fungal culture by the two techniques correlated well. Notable compounds of fuel interest included nonanal, 1-octen-3-ol, 1-butanol, 3-methyl- and benzaldehyde. Abiotic comparison of the two techniques demonstrated SPME fiber bias toward higher molecular weight compounds, making quantitative efforts with SPME impractical. Together, PTR-MS and SPME GC-MS were shown as valuable tools for characterizing volatile fuel compound production from microbiological sources.