Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

Mitigation of signal suppression caused by the use of trifluoroacetic acid in liquid chromatography mobile phases during liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis via post-column addition of ammonium hydroxide.

PMID 22592995


A method has been developed to reduce the mass spectrometric ion signal suppression associated with the use of TFA as an additive in LC mobile phases. Through post-column infusion of diluted NH(4)OH solution to LC eluents, the ammonium ion introduced causes the neutral analyte-TFA ion pair to dissociate which consequently releases the protonated analyte as free ions into the gas phase (through regular electrospray ionization mechanisms). An ion signal improvement from 1.2 to 20 times for a variety of compounds had been achieved through the application of this method. The molar ratios of NH(4)OH:TFA which result in a reduction of signal suppression were determined to be between 0.5:1 and 50:1. In addition, it was shown that this NH(4)OH infusion method could reduce the level of doubly-charged species and the product ions formed via in-source collision. The use of diluted NH(4)OH solution is favorable since it is compatible with mass spectrometry analysis, and it is applicable in both positive and negative-ion generation mode.