Isotope abundance analysis methods and software for improved sample identification with supersonic gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Tal Alon, Aviv Amirav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present newly developed isotope abundance analysis (IAA) methods and software which are used to derive elemental formula information from experimental mass spectral data of molecular ion isotopomeric abundances. The software, using a novel method, can also be used to automatically confirm or reject NIST library search results, thereby significantly improving the confidence level in sample identifications. In the case of IAA confirmation of the NIST library results, sample identification is unambiguous, since the confirmation is achieved by two independent sets of data and analytical methods. In the case of a rejection, such as when the molecule is not included in the library's databases, the IAA software independently provides a list of elemental formulae with declining order of matching to the isotopomeric experimental data, in a similar way to accurate mass measurements with costly instruments. IAA is ideally applicable to gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) (and liquid chromatography/electron ionization mass spectrometry (LC/EI-MS)) with a supersonic molecular beam (SMB) since it requires a trustworthy and highly abundant true molecular ion that is unique to the SMB-MS systems, plus the absence of self chemical ionization and vacuum background noise, again unique features of GC/SMB-MS. The various features of the IAA methods and software are described, their performance is demonstrated with the analysis of experimental GC-SMB-MS data and the IAA concept is compared with accurate mass alternatives. The combination of IAA and GC/SMB-MS is believed to be superior to accurate mass GC/MS in view of the general availability of trustworthy molecular ions for an extended range of compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2579-2588
Number of pages10
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume20
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

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