HPLC, UHPLC

DART-based Thermal Profiling of Solids and Powders as a Screening Tool for Quality Assessment

Mar 09 2010

Author: Brian Musselman, Elizabeth Crawford, and Jordan Krechmer on behalf of Unassigned Independent Article

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Direct ionization in real time (DART) desorption ionization mass spectrometry has been successfully used for the rapid screening of solids including powders and tablets, and for organic materials on the surfaces of objects. An automated sample positioning system facilitates rapid screening of these by reducing or eliminating the need for sample preparation.

Improvements in sample positioning reproducibility enable acquisition of a series of desorption ionization mass spectra for a given solid at successively higher temperature values. This collection of spectra describes a qualitative and quantitative profile of the chemical content for comparison with standards.

The method shows promise as a high-throughput screening tool to identify contaminated raw materials or the presence of hazardous chemicals in the finished product using existing laboratory LC/MS instrumentation.

The growth of criminal activity focused on the adulteration of food products and counterfeit pharmaceuticals have increased the workload of analytical chemist. The full impact of these activities on targeted companies and their products is not yet known, however, it is increasingly likely that more testing will be required to address concerns related to product liability and satisfy government regulations.

Traditional quality analyses to verify legitimate content may need to be expanded to include searches for unknown substances for which no specified methods exist. For example, the recent contamination of milk with melamine has already provoked discussions regarding new testing regulations for food produced in China.

The need exists for rapid and simple methods to detect a wide range of potential contaminants in order to keep pace with the increasingly-sophisticated criminal elements. The potential of DART-MS method as a screening tool for determination of these contaminants has been documented with publications addressing melamine in dog food (1), the prevalence of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in third world countries (2) and the determination of trace pesticides and environmental contaminants in food (3)

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