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Analysis of amitrole by normal-phase liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry using a sheath liquid electrospray interface



The coupling of normal-phase liquid chromatography to tandem mass spectrometry, previously developed in our laboratory, has been applied to the analysis of amitrole. This coupling utilizes an electrospray interface modified to accommodate the introduction of a make-up solution at the tip of the electrospray probe. A methanolic solution containing 3 mM ammonium acetate delivered at a flow rate of 10 µL · min−1 was found to be the optimal sheath liquid to promote successful ionization of the amitrole. Protonated molecules, arising from in-source dissociation of ammonium adducts, were subjected to tandem mass spectrometric experiments in a triple-quadrupole instrument. The main fragmentation reactions were characterized and selected to acquire chromatographic data in the multiple reaction monitoring mode. The limit of detection for amitrole was in the ppm range without any preconcentration step. Enhanced efficiency of ion transmission achievable nowadays in mass spectrometers (this analytical configuration was developed with a 15-year-old instrument) is reasonably expected to further improve this detection level. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.