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      Development of a GC/Quadrupole-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer, Part I: Design and Characterization


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          Identification of unknown compounds is of critical importance in GC/MS applications (metabolomics, environmental toxin identification, sports doping, petroleomics, and biofuel analysis, among many others) and remains a technological challenge. Derivation of elemental composition is the first step to determining the identity of an unknown compound by MS, for which high accuracy mass and isotopomer distribution measurements are critical. Here, we report on the development of a dedicated, applications-grade GC/MS employing an Orbitrap mass analyzer, the GC/Quadrupole-Orbitrap. Built from the basis of the benchtop Orbitrap LC/MS, the GC/Quadrupole-Orbitrap maintains the performance characteristics of the Orbitrap, enables quadrupole-based isolation for sensitive analyte detection, and includes numerous analysis modalities to facilitate structural elucidation. We detail the design and construction of the instrument, discuss its key figures-of-merit, and demonstrate its performance for the characterization of unknown compounds and environmental toxins.

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          Advances in structure elucidation of small molecules using mass spectrometry

          The structural elucidation of small molecules using mass spectrometry plays an important role in modern life sciences and bioanalytical approaches. This review covers different soft and hard ionization techniques and figures of merit for modern mass spectrometers, such as mass resolving power, mass accuracy, isotopic abundance accuracy, accurate mass multiple-stage MS(n) capability, as well as hybrid mass spectrometric and orthogonal chromatographic approaches. The latter part discusses mass spectral data handling strategies, which includes background and noise subtraction, adduct formation and detection, charge state determination, accurate mass measurements, elemental composition determinations, and complex data-dependent setups with ion maps and ion trees. The importance of mass spectral library search algorithms for tandem mass spectra and multiple-stage MS(n) mass spectra as well as mass spectral tree libraries that combine multiple-stage mass spectra are outlined. The successive chapter discusses mass spectral fragmentation pathways, biotransformation reactions and drug metabolism studies, the mass spectral simulation and generation of in silico mass spectra, expert systems for mass spectral interpretation, and the use of computational chemistry to explain gas-phase phenomena. A single chapter discusses data handling for hyphenated approaches including mass spectral deconvolution for clean mass spectra, cheminformatics approaches and structure retention relationships, and retention index predictions for gas and liquid chromatography. The last section reviews the current state of electronic data sharing of mass spectra and discusses the importance of software development for the advancement of structure elucidation of small molecules. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12566-010-0015-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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            A Dual Pressure Linear Ion Trap Orbitrap Instrument with Very High Sequencing Speed*

            Since its introduction a few years ago, the linear ion trap Orbitrap (LTQ Orbitrap) instrument has become a powerful tool in proteomics research. For high resolution mass spectrometry measurements ions are accumulated in the linear ion trap and passed on to the Orbitrap analyzer. Simultaneously with acquisition of this signal, the major peaks are isolated in turn, fragmented and recorded at high sensitivity in the linear ion trap, combining the strengths of both mass analyzer technologies. Here we describe a next generation LTQ Orbitrap system termed Velos, with significantly increased sensitivity and scan speed. This is achieved by a vacuum interface using a stacked ring radio frequency ion guide with 10-fold higher transfer efficiency in MS/MS mode and 3–5-fold in full scan spectra, by a dual pressure ion trap configuration, and by reduction of overhead times between scans. The first ion trap efficiently captures and fragments ions at relatively high pressure whereas the second ion trap realizes extremely fast scan speeds at reduced pressure. Ion injection times for MS/MS are predicted from full scans instead of performing automatic gain control scans. Together these improvements routinely enable acquisition of up to ten fragmentation spectra per second. Furthermore, an improved higher-energy collisional dissociation cell with increased ion extraction capabilities was implemented. Higher-collision energy dissociation with high mass accuracy Orbitrap readout is as sensitive as ion trap MS/MS scans in the previous generation of the instrument.
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              Proteomics on an Orbitrap Benchtop Mass Spectrometer Using All-ion Fragmentation*

              The orbitrap mass analyzer combines high sensitivity, high resolution, and high mass accuracy in a compact format. In proteomics applications, it is used in a hybrid configuration with a linear ion trap (LTQ-Orbitrap) where the linear trap quadrupole (LTQ) accumulates, isolates, and fragments peptide ions. Alternatively, isolated ions can be fragmented by higher energy collisional dissociation. A recently introduced stand-alone orbitrap analyzer (Exactive) also features a higher energy collisional dissociation cell but cannot isolate ions. Here we report that this instrument can efficiently characterize protein mixtures by alternating MS and “all-ion fragmentation” (AIF) MS/MS scans in a manner similar to that previously described for quadrupole time-of-flight instruments. We applied the peak recognition algorithms of the MaxQuant software at both the precursor and product ion levels. Assignment of fragment ions to co-eluting precursor ions was facilitated by high resolution (100,000 at m/z 200) and high mass accuracy. For efficient fragmentation of different mass precursors, we implemented a stepped collision energy procedure with cumulative MS readout. AIF on the Exactive identified 45 of 48 proteins in an equimolar protein standard mixture and all of them when using a small database. The technique also identified proteins with more than 100-fold abundance differences in a high dynamic range standard. When applied to protein identification in gel slices, AIF unambiguously characterized an immunoprecipitated protein that was barely visible by Coomassie staining and quantified it relative to contaminating proteins. AIF on a benchtop orbitrap instrument is therefore an attractive technology for a wide range of proteomics analyses.

                Author and article information

                Anal Chem
                Anal. Chem
                Analytical Chemistry
                American Chemical Society
                19 August 2015
                19 August 2014
                21 October 2014
                : 86
                : 20
                : 10036-10043
                [1] Departments of Chemistry, Biomolecular Chemistry, and §Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin−Madison , Madison, Wisconsin 53706, United States
                []Genome Center of Wisconsin , Madison, Wisconsin 53706, United States
                []Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center , Madison, Wisconsin 53703, United States
                []Thermo Fisher Scientific , 28199, Bremen, Germany
                []Thermo Fisher Scientific , Austin, Texas 78728, United States
                Author notes
                [* ]Phone 608-263-1718. Fax: 608-890-0167. E-mail: jcoon@ 123456chem.wisc.edu .
                Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

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                National Institutes of Health, United States
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                Analytical chemistry
                Analytical chemistry


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