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Carbohydr Res. 2009 Feb 17;344(3):384-94. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2008.11.020. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

Ion-trap mass spectrometry unveils the presence of isomeric oligosaccharides in an analyte: stage-discriminated correlation of energy-resolved mass spectrometry.

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Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences (MITILS), 11 Minamiooya, Machida-shi, Tokyo 194-8511, Japan.


Mass spectrometry, especially tandem mass spectrometry, has been widely used in the field of analytical sciences for handling biological and chemical samples. The technique resolves molecular and fragment ions based on the mass to charge ratio. Energy-resolved mass spectrometry (ERMS) further provides an activation energy-related factor in the dissociation reaction. Therefore, it is a very powerful technique that can discriminate isomeric compounds. Despite the power of ERMS, useful information cannot be obtained when an analyte contains structural isomers. Carbohydrates carry multiple chiral centers, thus oligomers of monosaccharides can form a vast number of structural isomers. We decided to use such species in our endeavors to establish a method of identifying the 'purity' of an analyte solely based on mass spectrometry. In the present paper, we describe a stage-discriminated spectral correlation of ERMS, which not only enables identification of the presence of contaminants in an analyte, but also provides information regarding the 'purity' of fragment ions.

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