A study of ion suppression effects in electrospray ionization from mobile phase additives and solid-phase extracts



Since the wide adoption of liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS), the ion suppression/enhancement phenomenon is the latest barrier to high-throughput analysis. This consequence of a nonoptimized analytical method can lead to adverse effects during quantitation (i.e. poor accuracy and precision). Previous papers have reported that ion suppression is a direct result of endogenous material present in biological samples. However, in the case of a solid-phase liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (SPE/LC/MS/MS) system, the measured result is the combination of several operating conditions and parameters. Little has been done to effectively monitor and/or choose optimized conditions for the complete sequence of extraction, clean up, separation and analysis. This paper describes a simple setup for quantification of ion suppression/enhancement. Several mobile phase additives, ion-pairing agents and SPE extracts were measured and compared against a standard reference. The results demonstrated that a clean up of plasma extracts based on ion exchange leads to minimal ion suppression/enhancement for the compounds that were investigated. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.