Biogenic aldehyde determination by reactive paper spray ionization mass spectrometry

Ionization of aliphatic and aromatic aldehydes is improved by performing simultaneous chemical derivatization using 4-aminophenol to produce charged iminium ions during paper spray ionization. Accelerated reactions occur in the microdroplets generated during the paper spray ionization event for the tested aldehydes (formaldehyde, n-pentanaldehyde, n-nonanaldehyde, n-decanaldehyde, n-dodecanaldehyde, benzaldehyde, m-anisaldehyde, and p-hydroxybenzaldehyde). Tandem mass spectrometric analysis of the iminium ions using collision-induced dissociation demonstrated that straight chain aldehydes give a characteristic fragment at m/. z 122 (shown to correspond to protonated 4-(methyleneamino)phenol), while the aromatic aldehyde iminium ions fragment to give a characteristic product ion at m/. z 120. These features allow straightforward identification of linear and aromatic aldehydes. Quantitative analysis of n-nonaldehyde using a benchtop mass spectrometer demonstrated a linear response over 3 orders of magnitude from 2.5. ng to 5. μg of aldehyde loaded on the filter paper emitter. The limit of detection was determined to be 2.2. ng for this aldehyde. The method had a precision of 22%, relative standard deviation. The experiment was also implemented using a portable ion trap mass spectrometer.