Determination of N-15-labeled ammonium and total nitrogen in plant and fungal systems using mass-spectrometry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A selected ion-monitoring method to measure 15N-labelled ammonia in biological samples was improved to simplify sample handling, to obviate interference from ammonia due to the decomposition of glutamine
and to allow the determination of total N. Ammonia is derivatized with pentafluorobenzoylchloride to yield pentafluorobenzamide which is analysed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry after clean-up using
disposable silicic acid columns. The sensitivity achieved when operating in the negative ion-chemical ionization mode was somewhat higher than when using electron-impact ionization. Use of methyl amine as an internal standard improved the accuracy and precision of the measurements. The method was applied to samples taken from an intact ectomycorrhizal system fed with ISN-labelled ammonium and used to determine patterns of N assimilation into ammonium, free amino acids and macromolecular compounds.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • Ammonia, Ectomycorrhiza, Mass spectrometry, 15N, N assimilation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-176
JournalJournal of Microbiological Methods
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Publication categoryResearch