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Anal Chem. 2004 Sep 1;76(17):5157-64.

Exploring the importance of the relative solubility of matrix and analyte in MALDI sample preparation using HPLC.

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Research & Development Laboratories, Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, New York 14650-2132, USA.


New insight into the role of solubility in the sample preparation process for MALDI MS is reported. Reversed-phase gradient HPLC conditions were developed that enable the analysis of a broad range of analyte polarities with a single method. This HPLC method was used to establish a relative polarity scale for a series of 15 MALDI matrix materials, a set of example peptides, and a series of model polymer materials with a broad range of polarity. Examples of each polymer type within the range of 6000-10,000 were analyzed with six matrixes that cover a broad range of polarity using MALDI TOFMS. With regard to polymer signal-to-noise ratio, the matrix and polymer combinations that had a close match of HPLC retention time produced the best MALDI spectra. Conversely, the matrix and polymer combinations that have a large difference in HPLC retention time produced poor MALDI spectra. The results suggest that there is a relationship between polarity (solubility) and effective MALDI sample preparation. The relative HPLC retention time of an unknown polymer can serve as a starting point for predicting the matrix (or range of matrixes) that would be most effective.

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