Novel Ion Trap Scan Modes to Develop Criteria for On-Site Detection of Sulfonamide Antibiotics

Lucas J. Szalwinski, Yanyang Hu, Nicolás M. Morato, R.G. Cooks*, Gert I.J. Salentijn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in ambient ionization techniques have facilitated the direct analysis of complex mixtures without sample preparation. Significant attention has been given to innovating ionization methods so that multiple options are now available, allowing for ready selection of the best methods for particular analyte classes. These ambient techniques are commonly implemented on benchtop systems, but their potential application with miniature mass spectrometers for in situ measurements is even more powerful. These applications require that attention be paid to tailoring the mass spectrometric methodology for the on-site operation. In this study, combinations of scan modes are employed to efficiently determine what tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) operations are most useful for detecting sulfonamides using a miniature ion trap after ionization. First, mixtures of representative sulfonamide antibiotics were interrogated using a 2D MS/MS scan on a benchtop ion trap in order to determine which class-specific fragments (ionic or neutral) are shared between the sulfonamides and thus have diagnostic value. Then, three less-used combination scans were recorded: (i) a simultaneous precursor ion scan was used to detect both analytes and an internal standard in a single ion injection event to optimize quantitative performance; (ii) a simultaneous precursor/neutral loss scan was used to improve detection limits; and finally, (iii) the simultaneous precursor/neutral loss scan was implemented in a miniature mass spectrometer and representative sulfonamides were detected at concentrations as low as 100 ng/mL by nano-electrospray and 0.5 ng absolute by paper spray ionization, although improvements in the stability of the home-built instrumentation are needed to further optimize performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13904-13911
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021


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