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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2010 Aug;21(8):1423-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jasms.2010.04.001. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Enhanced ion signals in desorption electrospray ionization using surfactant spray solutions.

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  • 1Chemistry Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


Solvent optimization is an important procedure in desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) and in this study the effects of solvent surface tension are explored. Data are presented for methanol/water/surfactant solvent systems, which show increases in ion signals of more than an order of magnitude when low concentrations of surfactants are added to the standard methanol/water (1:1) spray solvent. Examples of analytes tested include food chemicals, peptides, pharmaceuticals, and drugs of abuse. The improvement in ion intensity is mainly attributed to the effect of surface tension in producing smaller spray droplets, which are shown to cover a larger surface area. Surfactant-containing spray solutions allowed extension of DESI-MS analysis to previously intractable analytes like melamine and highly hydrophobic compounds like the sudan dyes.

Copyright 2010 American Society for Mass Spectrometry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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