American Chemical Society
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Increasing DESI-MS Ion Signal by Plasma Treatment

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posted on 2022-05-06, 17:10 authored by Hasan Baghernia, Seyed Mohammad Jafar Seyed Golestan, Shahedeh Hajiani, Babak Shokri, Alireza Ghassempour
Many studies are focused on using plasma in mass spectrometry as an ionization source or postionization method. In this study, the effect of plasma treatment in the sample preparation step of desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) has been investigated. The plasma treatment of polar samples, including morphine, codeine, captopril, theophylline, fructose, and amphiphilic compounds such as phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) in E. coli bacteria, as well as nonpolar compounds, including thebaine, papaverine, and noscapine, has been followed for ionization efficiency in DESI technique. An atmospheric-pressure glow discharge plasma (GDP) along with the electrospray ionization technique is examined. Plasma treatment before ambient ionization has a dramatic effect on polar and nonpolar sample signals in DESI-TOF mass spectrometry. The intensity of the mass spectrum shows an increase of 1.9–3.4 times for polar compounds, 2.1–2.5 times for nonpolar compounds, and 3.0 times for PE in E. coli bacteria (N = 4). Plasma is a source of reactive atoms, molecules, ions, radicals, and ultraviolet radiation. Plasma surface treatment before DESI analysis by energetic species through momentum/energy transfer yields higher energy surface molecules, leading to more/easier desorption. Under optimal treatment conditions, an improved ion signal intensity is observed without any fragmentation, decomposition, or chemical changes. Ion signals are increased possibly by both increased ionization through protonation of molecules and enhanced subsequent desorption during DESI analysis.