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J Chromatogr A. 2003 Jan 24;985(1-2):531-9.

Adduct formation in electrospray ionization mass spectrometry II. Benzoic acid derivatives.

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Department of Chemistry, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0212, USA.


This work serves as a follow-up to Part I of experiments designed to determine the underlying principles in the formation of pseudomolecular, or adduct, ions during electrospray ionization. Aromatic acids were studied by flow injection analysis in the negative ionization mode of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Part I dealt with common acidic anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals. such as ibuprofen and related analogues. Part II deals with functionally less complex molecules, namely benzoic acid (BA) and substituted benzoic acids. Halide-substituted molecules are investigated to deduce the effect of electron-withdrawing substituents (bromo-, chloro-, and fluoro-) and ring position (ortho-, meta- and para-) on the response of a traditional deprotonated molecular ion ([M-H]-) and a sodium-bridged dimer ion ([2M-2 H+Na]-). Amino-substituted benzoic acids are also analyzed in order to study the effect of an additional ionizable group on the molecule, and para-tert.-butyl-BA is analyzed to study the effect of increased hydrophobicity, as they relate to the formation of pseudomolecular ions. This study shows that solution character [octanol-water partition coefficient (or log P) and pKa] of the model compounds controls the relative efficiency of formation of [M-H]- and [2M-2H+Na]- ions. However the relative gas phase character (gas phase basicity and proton affinity) also has a significant effect on the formation of the sodium-bridged dimer ion. For the halide-substituted species, placement of the electron-withdrawing atom at the meta-position gives the greatest enhancement in sensitivity. Observations also show that as the structural complexity of the model compound increases, predictions relating analyte acidity to sodium-bridged dimer ion formation give way to a stronger dependence between log P values and ionization efficiency. Supporting this hypothesis is the nearly ten-fold enhancement in signal for tert.-butyl BA relative to BA. due to the greater hydrophobicity, and consequently, increased surface activity in an electrosprayed droplet of the analyte molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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