In mass spectrometry, analytes must be released in the gas phase. There are two representative methods for the gasification of the condensed samples, i.e., ablation and desorption. While ablation is based on the explosion induced by the energy accumulated in the condensed matrix, desorption is a single molecular process taking place on the surface. In this paper, desorption methods for mass spectrometry developed in our laboratory: flash heating/rapid cooling, Leidenfrost phenomenon-assisted thermal desorption (LPTD), solid/solid friction, liquid/solid friction, electrospray droplet impact (EDI) ionization/desorption, and probe electrospray ionization (PESI), will be described. All the methods are concerned with the surface and interface phenomena. The concept of how to desorb less-volatility compounds from the surface will be discussed.
Phthalates are chemicals widely used in industry and the consequences on human health caused by exposure to these agents are of significant interest currently. The urinary metabolites of phthalates can be measured and used as exposure markers for the assessment of the actual internal contamination of phthalates coming from different sources and absorbed by various ways. The purpose of this paper is to review the markers for exposure and risk assessment of phthalates such as di-methyl phthalate (DMP), di-ethyl phthalate (DEP), di-butyl phthalate (DBP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP), di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), di-(2-propylheptyl)phthalate (DPHP), di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DINP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) and di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP), and introduction of the analytical approach of three metabolomics data processing approaches that can be used for chemical exposure marker discovery in urine with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) data.
Generation of analyte ions in gas phase is a primary requirement for mass spectrometric analysis. One of the ionization techniques that can be used to generate gas phase ions is electrospray ionization (ESI). ESI is a soft ionization method that can be used to analyze analytes ranging from small organics to large biomolecules. Numerous ionization techniques derived from ESI have been reported in the past two decades. These ion sources are aimed to achieve simplicity and ease of operation. Many of these ionization methods allow the flexibility for elimination or minimization of sample preparation steps prior to mass spectrometric analysis. Such ion sources have opened up new possibilities for taking scientific challenges, which might be limited by the conventional ESI technique. Thus, the number of ESI variants continues to increase. This review provides an overview of ionization techniques based on the use of electrospray reported in recent years. Also, a brief discussion on the instrumentation, underlying processes, and selected applications is also presented.
Ambient ionization allows mass spectrometry analysis directly on the sample surface under atmospheric pressure with almost zero sample pretreatment. Since the development of desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) in 2004, many other ambient ionization techniques were developed. Due to their simplicity and low operation cost, rapid and on-site clinical mass spectrometry analysis becomes real. In this review, we will highlight some of the most widely used ambient ionization mass spectrometry approaches and their applications in clinical study.
The purpose of this review is to provide updated information regarding bioinformatic software for the use in the characterization of glycosylated structures since 2013. A comprehensive review by Woodin et al.Analyst 138: 2793–2803, 2013 (ref. 1) described two main approaches that are introduced for starting researchers in this area; analysis of released glycans and the identification of glycopeptide in enzymatic digests, respectively. Complementary to that report, this review focuses on mass spectrometry related bioinformatics tools for the characterization of N-linked and O-linked glycopeptides. Specifically, it also provides information regarding automated tools that can be used for glycan profiling using mass spectrometry.
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) are one of the most widely used nanomaterials in consumer products and industrial applications. As a result of all these uses, this has raised concerns regarding their potential toxicity. We previously found that candidate markers of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer were significantly up-regulated in rat bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) following exposure to ZnO NPs by using a liquid chromatography (LC)-based proteomic approach. To achieve comprehensive protein identification analysis, we conducted the two-dimensional gel electrophosis (2-DE)-based proteomic workflow to analyze the differences in BALF proteins from rats that had been exposed to a high dose of 35 nm ZnO NPs. A total of 31 differentially expressed protein spots were excised from the gels and analyzed by nanoLC-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Gene ontology (GO) annotation of these proteins showed that most of the differentially expressed proteins were involved in response to stimulus and inflammatory response processes. Moreover, pulmonary surfactant-associated protein D and gelsolin, biomarkers of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, were significantly up-regulated in rat BALF after ZnO NPs exposure (2.42- and 2.84-fold, respectively). The results obtained from this present study could provide a complementary consequence with our previous study and contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in ZnO NP-induced lung disorders.
Psychoactive drug overdoses are life-threatening and require prompt and proper treatment in the emergency room to minimize morbidity and mortality. Prompt identification of the ingested psychoactive drugs is challenging, since witness recall is unreliable and patients’ symptoms do not necessarily explain their loss of consciousness. Gas and liquid chromatography mass spectrometric analyses have been the traditionally employed methods to detect and identify abused substances; however, these techniques are time-consuming and labor-intensive. In this study, thermal desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, an ambient mass spectrometric technique, was applied to rapidly characterize flunitrazepam, lysergic acid diethylamide, and 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine in drained gastric lavage fluid, and ketamine, cocaine, amphetamine and norketamine in whole blood samples. No pretreatment of the gastric lavage fluid specimens was required and the entire analytical process took less than 30 s per specimen. Liquid–liquid extraction, followed by centrifugation, was performed on the whole blood samples. The corresponding compounds were identified through matching the obtained mass spectrometric data with those provided by commercial databases. The limits-of-detection of the tested drugs in both drained gastric lavage fluid and whole blood samples are at sub ppm levels. This is sensitive enough for emergency medical application, since the quantities of medications ingested by overdosed abusers are much higher than the amounts that were tested.
The development of a novel type of a sampling/ionization kit for use in electrospray ionization/mass spectrometry is reported. Using a small calligraphy-brush-style synthetic hair pen (nylon-brush), and analogous to paper-spray mass spectrometry, the analytes can be collected, elution/desorption and then ionized from the surface of the nylon-brush. The body of the kit was produced by means of a commercial 3D-printer, in which ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) was used as the starting material. Meanwhile, a small nylon-brush was embedded inside a 3D-printed plastic cell, in which a solvent was supplied to rinse the brush by means of capillary action. The size and weight of the kit were 1 g and 4 cm, respectively. The kit is disposable and it has various functions, including non-invasive sampling, sample-evaporation and ionization. As a result, when a type of pesticide was selected as the test sample (dimethoate; C5H12NO3PS2), the limit of detection was determined to be 0.1 μg/mL. Collecting the pesticide from a leaf-surface (lettuce) was also successful. The process for fabricating the nylon-brush kit and the optimized experimental conditions are reported herein.
Chemical analysis of complex matrices—containing hundreds of compounds—is challenging. Two-dimensional separation techniques provide an efficient way to reduce complexity of mixtures analyzed by mass spectrometry (MS). For example, gasoline is a mixture of numerous compounds, which can be fractionated by distillation techniques. However, coupling conventional distillation with other separations as well as MS is not straightforward. We have established an automatic system for online coupling of simple microscale distillation with gas chromatography (GC) and electron ionization MS. The developed system incorporates an interface between the distillation condenser and the injector of a fused silica capillary GC column. Development of this multidimensional separation (distillation-GC-MS) was preceded by a series of preliminary off-line experiments. In the developed technique, the components with different boiling points are fractionated and instantly analyzed by GC-MS. The obtained data sets illustrate dynamics of the distillation process. An important advantage of the distillation-GC-MS technique is that raw samples can directly be analyzed without removal of the non-volatile matrix residues that could contaminate the GC injection port and the column. Distilling the samples immediately before the injection to the GC column may reduce possible matrix effects—especially in the early phase of separation, when molecules with different volatilities co-migrate. It can also reduce losses of highly volatile components (during fraction collection and transfer). The two separation steps are partly orthogonal, what can slightly increase selectivity of the entire analysis.
We developed a rapid and simple approach without using complex mechanical or chemical protocols to fabricate boronic acid-functionalized plates for glycoprotein or glycopeptide enrichment and mass spectrometry (MS) analysis. By coating the boronic acid-functionalized silica particles on a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-coated matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) plate, these particles can form a firmly monolayer of particles on PDMS membrane for sample handling without peeling off. The boronic acid particles-coated PDMS plate (BP plate) was successfully applied to the enrichment of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) protein and their digested glycopeptides.
Flame-induced atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (FAPCI) is a solvent and high voltage-free APCI technique. It uses a flame to produce charged species that reacts with analytes for ionization, and generates intact molecular ions from organic compounds with minimal fragmentation. In this study, desorption FAPCI/MS was developed to rapidly characterize thermally stable organic compounds in liquid, cream, and solid states. Liquid samples were introduced into the ion source through a heated nebulizer, and the analytes formed in the heated nebulizer reacted with charged species in the source. For cream and solid sample analysis, the samples were positioned near the flame of the FAPCI source for thermal desorption and ionization. This approach provided a useful method to directly characterize samples with minimal pretreatment. Standards and real-world samples, such as drug tablets, ointment, and toy were analyzed to demonstrate the capability of desorption FAPCI/MS for rapid organic compound analysis.