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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 1999 Oct;10(10):1028-37.

Screening for drugs in serum by electrospray ionization/collision-induced dissociation and library searching.

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Institute of Legal Medicine, Klinikum der Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt Freiburg, Germany.


Factors influencing in-source collision-induced dissociation (ESI/CID) of organic molecules in a Perkin-Elmer/SCIEX ionspray source have been investigated. Breakdown curves of four drugs and organic compounds were acquired by monitoring the intensities of MH+ and specific fragment ions while ramping the orifice voltage. Haloperidol, diazepam, 1,4-acetamido-acetoxybenzene and diacetamido-1,2-benzene were found to be substances with characteristic breakdown curves, with maximums and points of intersection at orifice voltages between 20 and 70 V. The breakdown curves of haloperidol were used for comparison of ESI/CID with ionspray and turboionspray sources on three PE/SCIEX-API instruments. Using standardized source parameters and mass resolution, very similar fragmentation graphs were obtained for haloperidol with all instruments. Infusion of varying concentrations of haloperidol (0.1 to 10 micrograms/mL with ionspray, and 0.01 to 1 microgram/mL with turboionspray) yielded comparable breakdown curves. With turboionspray, a preconcentration of the aerosol occurred, yielding higher ion abundances. Solvent pH and the ratio of aqueous ammonium formate/acetonitrile had minor effects on the degree of fragmentation of haloperidol in a wide range. With these preconditions, a currently expanding mass spectral library of 400 drugs was set up by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry with alternating orifice voltages (20, 50, and 80 V, respectively) in a looped experiment. An example of drug identification in a patient's serum with library search is shown.

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