Pittcon is the world’s largest annual premier conference and exposition on laboratory science. Pittcon attracts more than 16,000 attendees from industry, academia and government from over 90 countries worldwide.
Pittcon 2015 was great, we're glad you came, but Pittcon 2016 is just around the corner. Be sure to visit us at booth #1628 in Atlanta, 7.- 10. March 2016!
Date: Monday, March 9th, 2015; Start Time: Morning (Slot # 6);
Session: Application of Mass Spectrometry
A Fast GC Proton-Transfer-Reaction Quadrupole Ion Guide Time-Of-Flight (PTR-QiToF) Mass Spectrometer
State-of-the-art Proton-Transfer-Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (PTR-TOFMS) instruments perform with sensitivities of typically 100 - 200 cps/ppbv. Here we present a novel PTR-TOFMS setup that utilizes a Quadrupole ion guide (Qi) instead of a common lens system for a much more effective transport of ions into the mass spectrometer. With measurement data obtained by introducing certified gas standards into the PTR-QiTOF we demonstrate that its sensitivity is up to 4,700 cps/ppbv, i.e. about 25 times more than the best instruments so far. Such outstandingly high sensitivities are of particular importance in fields of application where time per analysis is limited, e.g. flux measurements in atmospheric chemistry and mouth- or nosespace analysis in food and flavor research. Notably, in these fields the chemical environment is usually very complex so that even the selectivity of a high-resolution mass spectrometer is not sufficient. Monoterpenes, for example, are important compounds in atmospheric chemistry as well as in food and flavor research and appear at m/z 137 (protonated monoterpene). Therefore, we coupled the novel PTR-QiTOF with a FastGC inlet system and analyzed manuka tea and spruce resin, respectively. In the figure below one can see that indeed in normal direct-injection mode all monoterpenes appear indistinguishably at m/z 137. However, after switching the inlet system to FastGC mode the monoterpenes get separated according to their retention times and are easily distinguishable. The FastGC run takes less than 60 s and can even be considerably reduced to quasi-real-time by applying a sophisticated GC pulsing method (patent pending).
Date: Wednesday, March 11th, 2015; Start Time: Morning (Slot # 8);
Session: Improvements in Forensic Analysis
Automated Substance Identification Using Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS): Exemplary Analysis of a New Psychoactive Substance Blend
Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) is a very sensitive real-time trace gas detection technology and thus well established in many fields of application (environmental chemistry, food and flavor research, medical sciences, etc.). However, so far PTR-MS is predominantly used as a research tool in scientific environments and only to a minute extend for automated detection. Here we present a very recently developed method enabling not only routine detection, but also substance identification with a high level of confidence. We demonstrate the functional principle by analyzing a blend of new psychoactive substances (NPS) marketed under the lurid name "synthacaine" (i.e. synthetic cocaine) via the internet. At first, we obtain a mass spectrum of the unknown blend's headspace using H3O+ as reagent ions and tentatively assign the major mass peaks to protonated benzocaine (anesthetic; used to create the cocaine-like numbness effect) and methiopropamine (active ingredient; stimulant; structurally related to methamphetamine; compare figure below). However, as information about the exact mass is not sufficient for the unambiguous identification of a substance, we subsequently change the E/N (reduced electric field strength) in the PTR drift tube and compare the product ion branching ratios to those we obtained from pure compounds. Furthermore, we switch the reagent ions to NO+ and again compare the branching ratios with those of the pure substances at two E/N values. The whole process takes less than 30 s, facilitates nearly unambiguous compound identification and can easily be automated.
Non-Invasive Biomedical Analysis – Effects of Environmental VOCs
Monday, March 9, 2015, 1:30pm – 3:30pm, Room 226
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may act as potential biomarkers for diseases such as cancer, diabetes or infections. A major part of more than 800 VOCs detectable in the breath is meant to come from environmental sources rather than from biochemical processes in the body. This session will continue the tradition of successful Pittcon networking on non-invasive biomedical analysis from 2010-2014. Focusing on impact of environmental related compounds, exogenous VOCs as confounding factors as well as potential applications of e-VOCs will be discussed:
- How do environmental loads influence potential biomarker sets?
- Can exogenous compounds be used as biomarkers?
- How can high resolution analytical techniques (e.g. GCxGC-TOF, PTR-TOF) help us to unravel effects of the environment?