Mass spectrometry services have a robust tool for quantifying analytes and compounds within a sample. This analytical technique, mass spectrometry (MS), can help identify unknown compounds, quantify known materials, and determine the chemical and structural properties of molecules. Moreover, MS units can be combined with other techniques, such as liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis or LC-MS testing, to further increase its detection and quantification capacities.
This technique begins with converting the compound of interest into gaseous ions. This conversion can be without or with fragmentation. Finally, the generated gaseous ions are characterized based on their mass-to-charge ratios and relative abundance. Mass spectrometry is based on evaluating the ionizing energy and its effects on molecules. This evaluation depends on the interaction between molecules in the gaseous phase during ionic formation and neutral species. Therefore, the current article introduces mass spectrometry analysis services, describing their techniques and applications.
Techniques of Mass Spectrometry Analysis Services
The primary step in analyzing compounds through a mass spectrometer is the generation of gas phase ions. These gaseous ions are usually generated by electron ionization and undergo fragmentation. This fragmentation produces a primary product that undergoes fragmentation again. This process goes on. Mass spectrometers separate individual ions based on their mass-to-charge ratio and detect them relative to their abundance. This separation can be viewed through the generated mass spectrum, which displays a plot of mass-to-charge ratio versus analyte abundance. In the MS spectrum, the presence of molecular ions can be detected with the highest value of the mass-to-charge ratio, giving the molecular mass of the material of interest.
The mass spectrometer comprises three components: an ion source, an analyzer, and a detector system. The ion source produces gaseous ions for the compound of interest. An analyzer based on individual mass-to-charge ratio resolves the ions into respective mass components. Finally, the detector system detects the gaseous ions and records their relative abundance. Additional sample introduction systems and a computer to control the instrument and acquire data are needed during MS analysis.
Applications of Mass Spectrometry Analysis Services
Today mass spectrometers have become an integral component of bioanalytical laboratories. Separation techniques such as chromatography, ultracentrifugation, and electrophoretic methods were the only available techniques providing similar data to mass spectrometers. However, the data was not absolute as it was based on individual features and not the molecular weight of the compound. The advent of desorption ionization methods such as laser desorption, fast atom bombardment, and plasma desorption allowed the utilization of mass spectrometers to analyze biomolecules. Hence many mass spectrometry service providers employ MS detectors to study complex biomolecules.
Mass spectrometer application includes macromolecular MS and isotope ratio MS. Macromolecular MS analysis evaluates peptides, proteins, peptides, lipids, oligosaccharides, and other macromolecules. Several ionization sources are included in macromolecular research, including MALDI or ESI. Mass spectrometry analysis generates reliable data on the chemical formula, molecular mass analyte quantity, and chemical structure. They are widely used to assess small organic molecules. On the other hand, isotope ratio MS-based analysis measures the relative abundance of a stable isotope of elements. This evaluation can be based on a complex system, specific position, or specific compound within a sample.