Previously our group has developed extensive ionization efficiency scales in ESI positive and negative mode. Thus far, the comparison between the two modes has only been qualitative. Due to use of different anchor compounds the scales were not quantitatively comparable. To solve this problem and to enable direct quantitative comparison of the two ESI modes we searched for an anchor compound ionizing to the similar extent in both modes. To find such a compound we combined mass spectrometry with laser induced fluorescence measurements (to find out the solvent composition and pH in the ESI droplets), NMR and UV-Vis (to characterize the potential anchoring compounds ionization degree in corresponding solvent). Trans-3(3-pyridyl)acrylic acid was found to be a suitable anchoring compound, if analysed in mobile phase with pH 4.00.
The link between two ESI modes ionization efficiency scales enables the user to choose the most optimal ESI mode for analysis for the analyte in question.
We also compared ionization efficiencies of 33 compounds ionizing in both modes and found that, contrary to general practice, negative mode allows higher ionization efficiencies for 46% of the compounds. For 18% positive mode ESI provides better ionization efficiencies and for 36% the results obtained in both modes are comparable. However, not all compounds can be ionized with ESI negative mode, and some unfortunately also not with ESI at all.
Published in: Piia Liigand; Karl Kaupmees; Kristjan Haav; Jaanus Liigand; Ivo Leito; Marion Girod; Rodolphe Antoine; Anneli Kruve; Anal. Chem.