Researchers Develop Tool for Optimized Molecular Weight Analysis – Griffith News
The new world’s first research led by Griffith University has streamlined the process of identifying the structure and molecular weight of compounds, which could have a positive impact on scientists working in drug discovery, pollution analysis, food safety and more.
Published in the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical science, the team has developed a novel nuclear magnetic resonance-based (NMR) method to assign the molecular weight of compounds in mixtures, which is an important advantage for areas where individual components in complex mixtures need to be characterized.
The research led by Professor Anthony Carroll of Griffiths Faculty of Environment and Science and Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery with doctorate Guy Kleks and graduate PhD students Darren Holland and Joshua Porter is a breakthrough for scientists working on organic molecules.
“Currently, it takes two orthogonal techniques, mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy, to calculate the molecular structure of a compound,” said Professor Carroll.
“We have now summarized it in such a way that we only need one technique to calculate the structure of the molecule.”
The use of NMR, a similar method used in MRIs to image parts of the body, enables scientists to identify the unique “fingerprint of a Connection”. It is the leading method of identifying the molecular structure of an unknown molecule.
“However, if you don’t know the molecular weight of the compound, NMR techniques can give you some distance to identify the structure of a molecule, but not all the way. Until now, this molecular weight was determined using mass spectrometry, ”says Professor Carroll.
Professor Carroll and his team have now developed an NMR method that can predict the molecular weight of the compound. This “all in one” Method now means that the molecular structure can be confirmed more quickly so that the compound can be used for further developments.
“What we have developed is actually a quick diagnostic tool that can help a number of areas, including health and the environment,” said Professor Carroll.
“It used to be like looking for a needle in a haystack where a molecule from a complex mixture is responsible for the effects we see in cancer cells, for example. This process generally requires us to separate many molecules, which means a lot of time to purify and identify.
“Every molecule has its own molecular weight. If you don’t know what it is, then it is difficult to know what that connection is.
“We have developed a technique with which we can look directly at this complex mixture and identify the individual molecules in it.”
Professor Carroll hoped that this world’s first diagnostic method could become the accepted approach in the analysis of complex mixtures.
The research paper ‘Natural Products Dereplication by Diffusion Ordered NMR Spectroscopy (DOSY)’ was published in Chemical science.