Characterisation and determination of indole alkaloids in frog-skin secretions by electrospray ionisation ion trap mass spectrometry

Stephen McClean, R. C. Robinson, C. Shaw, Franklin Smyth

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The characterisation of selected indole alkaloids in a quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer is presented. Fragmentation profiles for tryptamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), N'-methyl 5-hydroxytryptamine (N'-methyl 5-HT), N',N'-dimethyl 5-hydroxytryptamine (bufotenine), N',N',N'-trimethyl 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTQ), and N',N'-dimethyl 5-methoxytryptamine (5-MeODMT) are presented with proposed structures given for each product ion observed. Such MS(n) experiments can be used to differentiate the isobaric molecular ions of the compounds 5-HTQ (M(+)) and 5-MeODMT (MH(+)). The quantitative determination of certain indole alkaloids in the skin secretions of the Australian Golden Bell frog, Litoria aurea, by LC/ESI-ion trap MS is also presented. The concentrations of 5-HT, N'-methyl 5-HT and 5-HTQ were found to be 2.68, 0.26 and 0.54 microg per mg of skin secretion, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-354
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • Alkaloids/analysis
  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Chromatography
  • Liquid
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Indoles/analysis
  • Serotonin/analysis
  • Skin/chemistry
  • Spectrometry
  • Mass
  • Electrospray Ionization
  • Tryptamines/analysis

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