Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry

Selective determination of pyridine alkaloids in tobacco by PFTBA ions/analyte molecule reaction ionization ion trap mass spectrometry.

PMID 17716908


The application of perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) ions/analyte molecule reaction ionization for the selective determination of tobacco pyridine alkaloids by ion trap mass spectrometry (IT-MS) is reported. The main three PFTBA ions (CF(3)(+), C(3)F(5)(+), and C(5)F(10)N(+)) are generated in the external source and then introduced into ion trap for reaction with analytes. Because the existence of the tertiary nitrogen atom in the pyridine makes it possible for PFTBA ions to react smoothly with pyridine and forms adduct ions, pyridine alkaloids in tobacco were selectively ionized and formed quasi-molecular ion [M + H](+)and adduct ions, including [M + 69](+), [M + 131](+), and [M + 264](+), in IT-MS. These ions had distinct abundances and were regarded as the diagnostic ions of each tobacco pyridine alkaloid for quantitative analysis in selected-ion monitoring mode. Results show that the limit of detection is 0.2 microg/mL, and the relative standard deviations for the seven alkaloids are in the range of 0.71% to 6.8%, and good recovery of 95.6% and 97.2%. The proposed method provides substantially greater selectivity and sensitivity compared with the conventional approach and offers an alternative approach for analysis of tobacco alkaloids.