Special Issues-07-01-2007

The increased resolving power provided by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) extends the chromatographer's ability to rapidly detect and measure smaller components in complex mixtures beyond that which was possible previously, allowing for the identification of hazardous components in complex mixtures such as foodstuffs or emergency response samples. In target analysis, the increased numbers of peaks resulting from the sample matrix can be largely ignored during the review of data. However, when the nature of the analyte of interest is not entirely known, analysis of the samples might require screening through the entire peak table for compounds with specific chemical characteristics. For example, in the analysis of foodstuffs for pesticides (1,2), GCxGC coupled with a time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC–TOF-MS) can provide low detection limits for multiple analytes in these complex samples. Yet the question remains as to whether other toxic compounds, not included in the..

Here we describe a new compact device for electron-capture dissociation (ECD) analysis of large peptides and posttranslational modifications of proteins, which can be difficult to analyze via conventional dissociation techniques such as collision-induced dissociation (CID). The new compact device realizes ECD in a radio frequency (RF) linear ion trap equipped with a small permanent magnet, which is significantly different than the large and maintenance-intensive superconducting magnet required for conventional ECD in Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometers. In addition to its compactness and ease of operation, an additional merit of an RF linear ion trap ECD is that its reaction speed is fast, comparable to CID, enabling data acquisition on the liquid-chromatography (LC) time scale. We interfaced the linear-trap ECD device to a time-of-flight mass spectrometer to obtain ECD spectra of phosphorylated peptides injected into a liquid chromatograph, infused glycopeptides, and intact small..

Special Issues

More than 20 years passed after the introduction of Fourier transform–ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-MS) before advancements in electronics and computer technology enabled the development of practical, high-performance instruments. Modern analytical FT-MS instruments rely on sophisticated electronic circuitry and powerful computer software to achieve the dramatic resolving power and mass accuracy typical for the instrumentation. Here, the power of modern hybrid FT-MS instrumentation is discussed by demonstrating the capability of this instrumentation for selected applications such as the analysis of crude oil, intact protein, and fragile noncovalent complex samples.

Assay sensitivity is the lowest concentration at which a targeted analyte can be measured and is often limited by chemical background or co-eluting interferences. FAIMS in combination with liquid chromatography (LC) and zero neutral loss tandem MS was used to remove chemical background and co-eluting interferences from the analysis of linoleic acid in cancer cell extracts. Concentration of endogenous linoleic acid was determined from back-calculation of standard calibration samples fortified with deuterium-labeled linoleic acid. No internal standard was used. LC–MS-MS analysis of the cancer cell extracts resulted in an increase in signal-to-noise ratio of 10-fold. The assay sensitivity was increased 10 times over the traditional LC–MS-MS experiment exclusively due to the new FAIMS technology.

Metabolomics is a developing analytical approach that is growing rapidly in importance as a tool to improve diagnosis and treatment of disease, as well as to speed up the drug development process. Unlike genomics or proteomics, which only reveal part of what might be happening in a cell, metabolomic profiling can give an instantaneous snapshot of the entire physiology of that cell. This article describes the challenges associated with metabolomics research and new tools developed to overcome them.

Special Issues

Reproducing analysis conditions is crucial to achieving consistent, accurate results in gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Valid reproduction demands appropriate application of technique, solid method design, reliable and accurate equipment, and a dedicated team of well-practiced technicians and researchers. But even when all these conditions are met, users can be held back by the more subtle elements in GC–MS operations, such as cutting or changing a column, or setting up the same experiment on different equipment. Even getting the parameters of a test organized so that it can be reproduced elsewhere - in a laboratory across the hall, the country, or the world - can be daunting. Consistent GC–MS results depend upon retention-time reproducibility.

State-of-the-art mass spectrometry (MS) techniques of growing importance to life sciences research now include not just liquid chromatography (LC)–MSn (n = 2–11), but also LC–matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF), LC-MALDI-TOF-TOF, electrospray ionization (ESI)-TOF, and LC-Fourier transform (FT) MS.