Comparison of LC-ESI-MS and GC-MS for the Analysis of a Synthetic Tabun Sample


  1. D'Agostino, P.A.
  2. Hancock, J.R.
  3. Chenier, C.L.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Packed capillary LC-ESI-MS and capillary column GC-MS were compared for the analysis of a synthetic tabun sample as each method has advantages for the analysis of samples containing chemical warfare agents, their hydrolysis products and related compounds. Twelve sample components were identified during LC-ESI-MS analysis of the sample, while only ten were detected by GC-MS. The two less volatile compounds not detected by GC-MS contained hydroxyl substitution and would only be detected by GC-MS following derivatization and a second GC-MS analysis. The total analysis times, including equilibration times between analyses, were similar, typically requiring about 40 to 45 minutes. Peak widths for capillary column GC-MS separations were typically an order of magnitude better than packed capillary LC-ESI-MS, offering the potential to resolve more sample components during a given analysis. The relative sensitivity of the methods was estimated since the exact contribution of each sample component to the mixture used for comparison remains unknown. Interpretable full mass spectra and similar S/N ratios in the total-ion-current were observed for the trace sample components, estimated to be present in the low nanogram or subnanogram range, using both methods.

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Electrospray mass spectrometry;CW identification;GC/MS;LC/ESI/MS;Tabun;Chemical warfare agents;Packed capillary column liquid chromatography
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2003-024 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2003
Number of Pages
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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