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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2009 Mar;20(3):529-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jasms.2008.11.015. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

The evaluation and comparison of trigonal and linear tricationic ion-pairing reagents for the detection of anions in positive mode ESI-MS.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas 76019, USA.


A general and sensitive method for detecting divalent anions by ESI-MS and LC/ESI-MS as positive ions has been developed. The anions are paired with tricationic reagents to form positively charged complexes. In this study, four tricationic reagents, 2 trigonal and 2 linear, were used to study a wide variety of anions, such as disulfonates, dicarboxylates, and inorganic anions. The limits of detection for many of the anions studied were often improved by tandem mass spectrometry. Tricationic pairing agents can also be used with chromatography to enhance the detection of anions. The tricationic reagents were also used to detect monovalent anions by monitoring the doubly charged positive complex. The limits of detection for some of the divalent anions by this method are substantially lower than by other current analytical techniques.

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