Evaluation of the interrelationship between mass resolving power and mass error tolerances for targeted bioanalysis using liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry


A. Kaufmann, Official Food Control Authority, Kantonales Labor Zürich, Fehrenstrasse 15, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland.

E-mail: anton.kaufmann@klzh.ch


The determination of acceptable mass error tolerances for high-resolution mass spectrometry based signals has been evaluated in a comprehensive way. This was achieved by using a technical approach which is based on the post-column infusion of an analyte containing solution. This well-known experimental setup was not used to spot signal suppression regions of a particular analyte, but to spot regions of the chromatogram where a systematic mass drift of the analyte ion can be observed (isobaric interference plot). Not the changing signal intensity but the stability of the measured analyte mass was observed. A wide range of different analytes in combinations with potentially interfering matrices has been evaluated. Furthermore, different mass resolving power settings were evaluated. Isobaric interferences between matrix compounds and analytes were common at mass resolving powers <50 000 full width at half maximum. The proposed post-column infusion technique is a useful tool for the determination of the assay and matrix-specific mass error tolerances. It aims to ensure the highest possible selectivity, at the same time preventing the encounter of detrimental mass error related peak deformations as well as false negative findings. Unlike conventional matrix spiking approaches, isobaric interference plots provide information of potential interferences across the whole chromatographic time range. This becomes relevant when there is a relative retention time shift between the analyte and potential interfering matrix compounds. Furthermore, the described setup can be used to study how the mass accuracy of any mass spectrometer is affected by a widely varying total ion current. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.