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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2011 Feb;22(2):379-85. doi: 10.1007/s13361-010-0046-z. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Evaluation of a high resolving power time-of-flight mass spectrometer for drug analysis in terms of resolving power and acquisition rate.

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Hjelt Institute, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 40, FI, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-TOFMS) is applied increasingly to various fields of small molecule analysis. The moderate resolving power (RP) of standard TOFMS instruments poses a risk of false negative results when complex biological matrices are to be analyzed. In this study, the performance of a high resolving power TOFMS instrument (maXis by Bruker Daltonik, Bremen, Germany) was evaluated for drug analysis. By flow injection analysis of critical drug mixtures, including a total of 17 compounds with nominal masses of 212-415 Da and with mass differences of 8.8-23.5 mDa, RP varied from 34,400 to 51,900 (FWHM). The effect of acquisition rate on RP, mass accuracy, and isotopic pattern fit was studied by applying 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 Hz acquisition rates in a 16 min gradient elution LC separation. All three variables were independent of the acquisition rate, with an average mass accuracy and isotopic pattern fit factor (mSigma) of 0.33 ppm and 5.9, respectively. The average relative standard deviation of RP was 1.8%, showing high repeatability. The performance was tested further with authentic urine extracts containing a co-eluting compound pair with a nominal mass of 296 Da and an 11.2 mDa mass difference. The authentic sample components were readily resolved and correctly identified by the automated data analysis. The average RP, mass accuracy, and isotopic pattern fit were 36,600, 0.9 ppm, and 7.3 mSigma, respectively.

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