Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Spatial Chemical Profiling of Vegetative Parts of Plants

Akhila Ajith, Nicholas Lockyer, Giles Johnson, Phillip Milnes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The detection of chemical species and understanding their respective localisations in tissues have important implications in plant science. The conventional methods for imaging spatial localisation of chemical species are often restricted by the number of species that can be identified and is mostly done in a targeted manner. Mass spectrometry imaging combines the ability of traditional mass spectrometry to detect numerous chemical species in a sample with their spatial localisation information by analysing the specimen in a 2D manner. This article details the popular mass spectrometry imaging methodologies which are widely pursued along with their respective sample preparation and the data analysis methods that are commonly used. We also review the advancements through the years in the usage of the technique for the spatial profiling of endogenous metabolites, detection of xenobiotic agrochemicals and disease detection in plants. As an actively pursued area of research, we also address the hurdles in the analysis of plant tissues, the future scopes and an integrated approach to analyse samples combining different mass spectrometry imaging methods to obtain the most information from a sample of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2022


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