Miniature Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry System for Analysis of Microorganisms

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2013-COOK-66608
Electrospray ionization is regarded as the best-characterized and most efficient method for ionization of molecules in solution phase. There are three main stages in the process: droplet formation, droplet evaporation, and ion formation. When a strong electric field is applied, a cone forms and a mist of small droplets is emitted from the tip. This method can produce small charged droplets under a low flow rate; however, the small size of the tip and the materials used causes problems with the source, the tip may become damaged or clogged easily. Other methods for overcoming clogging have been developed, but these methods still only work for pure chemicals dissolved in a solution.

Purdue University researchers have developed a novel method to analyze a sample containing one or more microorganisms. The method involves applying the sample to a porous material, adding a solvent, injecting a high voltage to generate ions, and then expelling the ions from the porous material in order to analyze them with a mass or mini mass spectrometer. With this method, the sample does not need culturing or prepping prior to analysis; it can be done with a solid, liquid, or gas. This technology provides a way to identify the microorganism down to its subspecies, substrain, and/or isolate level.

Advantages:
-Biological samples can be stored in precut filter papers for months
-Filter paper minimizes matrix effects and enhances the MS signal of chemicals in complex samples
-Paper can be pretreated to contain internal standards that are released at certain points in quantitative analysis

Potential Applications:
-Chemical Analysis
-Biotechnology
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Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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