Effects of solvent parameters on the electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry response of glucose
Rationale The importance of saccharides, the most abundant biomolecules on Earth, extends beyond their biological roles and to consumer products and industrial processes. Electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI‐MS/MS) is an attractive tool for the analysis of underivatized saccharides (US), but they tend to have relatively low sensitivities due to their low surface activities and lack of easily protonable or deprotonable chemical groups. An understanding of the influences that solvent parameters have on their signal intensities would enhance the usefulness of ESI‐MS/MS for their analysis. Methods Solutions of glucose, a model analyte for US, in various combinations of solvent, additive, additive concentration, and pH were analyzed by flow injection analysis ESI‐MS/MS in both the positive and negative ionization mode. The blank‐corrected signal intensities of the solvent parameter combinations were then compared. Results The addition of acetonitrile led to severe ionization suppression in the positive ionization mode through its competition with glucose for cation adduction. High signal intensity was achieved under wide pH and concentration ranges for methanol: water solutions containing ammonium trifluoroacetate in the positive ionization mode. The highest signal intensities for acetonitrile: water solutions were those containing ammonium formate or lithium fluoride in the negative ionization mode. Conclusions An understanding of the influence of solvent parameters on the signal intensity of a given analyte is useful for guiding the selection process of mobile phases/flow solvents that lead to low limits of detection or the minimization of matrix effects by allowing its detection at high dilution factors.
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