Cyclic IMS system: a step forward in food, nutrition and biobased analyses

Published on
February 8, 2021

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has acquired a new mass spectrometry system, as part of Shared Research Facilities, to be based at the Laboratory of Food Chemistry. The Cyclic IMS mass spectrometer (MS) and compatible desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) source can be used in combination with liquid chromatography (LC). This system promises to be very valuable in projects dealing with food, nutrition and biobased research.

The separation and characterisation of compounds has become increasingly important in research on food and food-related raw materials. One of the key methods to separate, identify and quantify molecules is liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS). A recurring challenge in these LC-MS analyses is the separation of isomers of, for instance peptides, oligosaccharides, phytochemicals and lipids, due to their identical mass and similar chemical properties.

Separation and quantification

The Cyclic IMS is ready to take on this challenge. This new state-of-the-art platform will be the first of its kind to be installed in the Netherlands. And it is one of the most powerful techniques for separating and quantifying individual compounds in complex biological matrices. Integrated into specialized MS systems, ion mobility can separate ions of isomers in the gas phase based on their travelling time through a neutral gas. The travelling time in turn is determined by the chemical structure and three-dimensional conformation of the molecule.

Studying reactions and modifications of food molecules

The system will be a valuable addition to the analytical capabilities of Wageningen University & Research and the Laboratory of Food Chemistry in particular. It offers researchers the possibility to study, for example, the modification of plant proteins and the way in which food components are modified by chemical, enzymatical or (micro)biological processes. As such, the system will contribute to multiple WUR research topics: circularity, the protein transition, personalized nutrition, and many others.

Shared facilities

The Cyclic IMS system is a co-investment of Wageningen University & Research and Unilever. As part of the Shared Research Facilities equipment, the system will be open for use by organisations from outside of WUR. An organisation’s network of partners and experts is essential to generating innovation. Shared Research Facilities collaborates with Foodvalley NL in making state-of-the-art research equipment available to researchers from all organisations through facility sharing.

This set-up enables users to also directly contact expertise in the fields of films and packaging, storage, food and non-food products, and all the cutting-edge technological possibilities the facilities have to offer. Thus, the latest technological developments are directly accessible to you. Facility sharing offers many other opportunities. Use the search engine to find the facilities you need.

Shared Research Facilities (WUR) collaborates with Foodvalley NL. Together, we make state-of-the-art facilities available for the innovation ecosystem. This new investment is made possible by the ‘Regio Deal Foodvalley’.