Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry in the analysis of chemical food contaminants in food

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Since its introduction, desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry (MS) has been mainly applied in pharmaceutical and forensic analysis. We expect that DESI will find its way in many different fields, including food analysis. In this review, we summarize DESI developments aimed at controlling chemical contaminants in food. Data are given for analysis of pesticides, natural toxins, veterinary drugs, food additives, adulteration, packaging migrants, and for applications of food forensics. We discuss practical aspects of DESI, including its strengths and weaknesses, highlighting specific features of performing chemical reactions during the desorption/ionization process in order to enhance sensitivity and selectivity. Finally, we discuss the position of DESI with respect to current food-analysis regulation and legislation. We envisage that DESI can be a rapid, qualitative or semi-quantitative, screening tool, ultimately being applied on site prior to sampling and transport of samples to food-control laboratories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-180
JournalTrAC : Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • atmospheric-pressure photoionization
  • thin-layer-chromatography
  • ambient conditions
  • rapid analysis
  • urine samples
  • surfaces
  • metabolites
  • mechanisms
  • alkaloids
  • melamine

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