Importance of enhanced mass resolution in removing interferences when measuring volatile organic compounds in human blood by using purge-and-trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry

Michael A. Bonin, David L. Ashley, Fred L. Cardinali, Joan M. McGraw, Donald G. Patterson

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The number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be purged from human blood is so great that they cannot be separated completely by capillary gas chromatography. As a result, the single-mass chromatograms used for quantitating the target compounds by mass spectrometry have many interferences at nominal (integer) mass resolution of a quadrupole mass spectrometer. The results of these interferences range from small errors in quantitation to completely erroneous results for the target VOCs. By using a magnetic sector mass spectrometer, these interferences at nominal mass can be removed at higher resolution by lowering the ion chromatogram windows around the masses of interest. At 3000 resolution (10% valley definition), unique single-ion chromatograms can be made for the quantitation ions of the target VOCs. Full-scan mass data are required to allow the identification of unknown compounds purged from the blood. By using isotope-dilution mass spectrometry, most target VOCs can be detected in the low parts per trillion range for a 10-mL quantity of blood from which the VOCs have been removed by a purge-and-trap method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-841
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1992


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy

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