on 05-01-201210:38 AM - edited on 10-15-202111:01 AM by AnalyteGuru
van der Heeft E, Bolck YJ, Beumer B, Nijrolder AW, Stolker AA, Nielen MW. J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2009 Mar;20(3):451-63. The applicability of ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) combined with full-scan accurate mass time-of-flight (TOF) and Orbitrap mass spectrometry (MS) to the analysis of hormone and veterinary drug residues was evaluated. Extracts from blank bovine hair were fortified with 14 steroid esters. UPLC-Orbitrap MS performed at a resolving power of 60,000 (FWHM) enabled the detection and accurate mass measurement (<3 ppm error) of all 14 steroid esters at low ng/g concentration level, despite the complex matrix background. A 5 ppm mass tolerance window proved to be essential to generate highly selective reconstructed ion chromatograms (RICs) having reduced background from the hair matrix. UPLC-Orbitrap MS at a lower resolving power of 7500 and UPLC-TOFMS at mass resolving power 10,000 failed both to detect all of the steroid esters in hair extracts owing to the inability to mass resolve analyte ions from co-eluting isobaric matrix compounds. In a second application, animal feed extracts were fortified with coccidiostats drugs at levels ranging from 240 to 1900 ng/g. UPLC-Orbitrap MS conducted at a resolving power of 7500 and 60,000 and UPLC-TOFMS detected all of the analytes at the lowest investigated level. Thanks to the higher analyte-to-matrix background ratio, the utilization of very narrow mass tolerance windows in the RIC was not required. This study demonstrates that even when the targeted sample preparation from conventional LC-MS/MS is applied to UPLC with full-scan accurate mass MS, false compliant (false negative) results can be obtained when the mass resolving power of the MS is insufficient to separate analyte ions from isobaric co-eluting sample matrix ions. The current trend towards more generic and less selective sample preparation is expected to aggravate this issue further.