Oligosaccharides from human milk as revealed by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry

Bernd Stahl, Stephan Thurl, Jianru J. Zeng, Michael Karas, Franz Hillenkamp, Martin Steup, Günther Sawatzki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study neutral and acidic oligosaccharide fractions prepared from human milk have been investigated using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS). The fraction of neutral oligosaccharides was separated by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and the resulting subfractions were analyzed by MALDI-MS using the positive ion mode, Several low-molecular-weight glycans (degree of polymerization up to 13) were observed whose structures have already been elucidated, In addition, a variety of so far unknown large-sized carbohydrates was detected whose molecular weights range from M(r) 2242 to 8000, The large-sized glycans which possess a low abundance appear to be composed of both lactosamine and fucose residues attached to the lactose unit at the reducing end of the sugar chains with a highly variable stochiometry, Following subfractionation by GPC, acidic (i.e,, containing sialic acid) glycans were analyzed by MGLDI-MS using both positive and negative ion mode, Because of the inferior stability of acidic glycans, various matrices were applied and compared with respect to signal intensity, resolution, and analyte stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-226
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes


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