Direct detection of surface localized specialized metabolites from Glycyrrhiza lepidota (American licorice) by leaf spray mass spectrometry

Dana M. Freund, Amanda C. Martin, Jerry D. Cohen, Adrian D. Hegeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Main conclusion: Leaf spray-MS minimizes tissue manipulation by effectively and quickly assessing in vivo specialized metabolites from intact plant tissue surfaces, including trichome metabolites. Intact leaves of Glycyrrhiza lepidota Pursh. (American licorice) were analyzed by direct electrospray leaf spray-MS, an ambient ionization technique. Comparison of metabolites detected by leaf spray-MS to those from LC–MS of bulk tissue and trichome enriched extracts showed dramatic differences. Leaf spray-MS results suggest that in specific situations this approach could complement traditional LC–MS analysis of bulk extracts. Leaf spray-MS as a metabolomics technique eliminates sample pretreatment and preparation allowing for rapid sampling in real time of living intact tissues. Specialized metabolites on the surface of tissues such as glandular trichomes metabolites are detected by leaf spray-MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This work was funded by the NSF Plant Genome Research Program Grants IOS-0923960, IOS-1238812, and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology IOS-1400818. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (00006595), and the UNCF/Merck Science Initiative. We also thank Dr. Don Wyse for the assistance in establishing and maintaining the field plot, Eric Roden for assistance in the development of the R scripts for data analysis, and Stephen Brockman for the van Krevelan diagram chemical map. We greatly appreciate the donation of a nano-electrospray source from Dr. Jessica Prenni and the Proteomics and Metabolomics facility at Colorado State University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.


  • Glycyrrhiza lepidota
  • Leaf spray mass spectrometry
  • Specialized metabolites
  • Trichomes


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