Journal of Chromatography B
Many fishes are hypothesized to use bile acids (BAs) as chemical cues, yet quantification of BAs in biological samples and the required methods remain limited. Here, we present an UHPLC-MS/MS method for simultaneous, sensitive, and rapid quantification of 15 BAs, including free, taurine, and glycine conjugated BAs, and application of the method to fecal samples from lake charr (Salvelinus namaycush). The analytes were separated on a C18 column with acetonitrile–water (containing 7.5 mM ammonium acetate and 0.1% formic acid) as mobile phase at a flow rate of 0.25 mL/min for 12 min. BAs were monitored with a negative electrospray triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (Xevo TQ-STM). Calibration curves of 15 BAs were linear over the concentration range of 1.00–5,000 ng/mL. Validation revealed that the method was specific, accurate, and precise. The method was applied to quantitative analysis of feces extract of fry lake charr and the food they were eating. The concentrations of analytes CA, TCDCA, TCA, and CDCA were 242.3, 81.2, 60.7, and 36.2 ng/mg, respectively. However, other taurine conjugated BAs, TUDCA, TDCA, and THDCA, were not detected in feces of lake charr. Interestingly, TCA and TCDCA were detected at high concentrations in food pellets, at 71.9 and 38.2 ng/mg, respectively. Application of the method to feces samples from lake charr supported a role of BAs as chemical cues, and will enhance further investigation of BAs as chemical cues in other fish species.