Application of electrospray ionization product ion spectra for identification with atmospheric pressure matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry - a case study with seized drugs.
Product ion spectra obtained with liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI/MS/MS) were applied to the identification of seized drug samples from atmospheric pressure matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization product ion spectra (AP-MALDI-MS/MS spectra). Data acquisition was performed in the information-dependent acquisition (IDA) mode, and the substance identification was based on a spectral library previously created with LC-ESI/MS/MS using protonated molecules as precursor ions. A total of 39 seized drug samples were analyzed with both AP-MALDI and LC-ESI techniques using the same triple-quadrupole instrument (AB Sciex 4000QTRAP). The study shows that ESI-MS/MS spectra can be directly utilized in AP-MALDI-MS/MS measurements as the average fit and purity score percentages with AP-MALDI were 90% and 85%, respectively, being similar to or even better than those obtained with the reference LC/ESI-MS/MS method. This fact enables the possibility to use large ESI spectral libraries, not only to ESI analyses but also to analyses with other ionization techniques which produce protonated molecules as the base peak. The data obtained shows that spectral library search works also for analytical techniques which produce multi-component mass spectra, such as AP-MALDI, unless isobaric compounds are encountered. The spectral library search was successfully applied to rapid identification of confiscated drugs by AP-MALDI-IDA-MS/MS. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.