Desorption Electrospray Ionisation Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents from Solid-Phase Microextraction Fibers


  1. D'Agostino, P.A.
  2. Chenier, C.L.
  3. Hancock, J.R.
  4. Jackson Lepage, C.R.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Desorption electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (DESI-MS) was recently reported for the direct analysis of sample media without the need for additional sample handling. During the present study, direct analysis of solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers by DESI-MSIMS was evaluated with indoor office media that might be collected during a forensic investigation, including wall surfaces, office fabrics, paper products and Dacron swabs used for liquid sampling. Media spiked at the pglg level with purified chemical warfare agents and a complex munitions grade sample of tabun, to simulate the quality of chemical warfare agent that might be used for terrorist purposes, were successfully analysed by DESI-MSIMS. Sulfur mustard, a compound that has not been successfully analysed by electrospray mass spectrometry in the past, was also sampled using a SPME fiber and analysed for the first time by DESI-MSIMS. Finally, the overall analytical approach involving SPME headspace sampling and DESI-MS analysis was evaluated during a scenario-based training live agent exercise. A sarin sample collected by the military was analysed and confirmed by DESI-MS in a mobile laboratory under realistic field conditions.
Chemical warfare agents;Desorption electrospray ionization;Electrospray ionization;Mass spectrometry
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-SL-2006-143 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
13 Sep 2006
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Rapid Communication in Mass Spectrometry, Vol 21, 2007, 543-549
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