A small organic molecule that is inherently nonresponsive to electrospray analysis, 1,3-butadiene diepoxide, was analyzed via electrospray ionization (ESI) by binding it to various peptides and observing the product at the characteristic mass shift. The epoxide reacted only with peptides with arginines in their sequence, most likely through a base-catalyzed ring opening to form a covalently bound product. A calibration curve linear over 3 orders of magnitude was generated for the butadiene diepoxide/peptide adduct. Several other epoxides were also reacted with the peptide of choice (angiotensin II), and adducts of these epoxides with the peptide were observed as well, demonstrating the versatility of this method for the analysis of small epoxides. This study demonstrates the possibility of assaying epoxides bound to peptides or proteins in biological samples. Furthermore, it demonstrates an important concept that could be applied to other analytical problems in electrospray: the ability to react an analyte that is nonresponsive to electrospray analysis with an analyte well suited for the technique, and accomplish quantitation based on the adduct formed between the two. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.