Rapid Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents and their Hydrolysis Products by Desorption Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (DESI-MS)


  1. D'Agostino, P.A.
  2. Chenier, C.L.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
A “dip and shoot” analytical method was developed for the rapid sampling and desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometric (DESI-MS) analysis of chemical warfare agents and their hydrolysis products in liquid samples. Sampling was performed by simply dipping fused silica, stainless steel or SPME tips into the organic or aqueous samples. Replicate analyses were completed within several minutes under ambient conditions with no sample pre-treatment, resulting in a significant increase in sample throughput over conventional solid phase microextraction (SPME) sampling and DESI-MS analysis or liquid chromatographic electrospray ionization mass spectrometric (LC-ESI-MS) analysis. The developed sample handling and analysis method was applied to the determination of chemical warfare agent content in samples containing unknown chemical and/or biological warfare agents. Ottawa sand was spiked with mustard, extracted with water and autoclaved to ensure sterility. Mustard was completely hydrolysed during the extraction/autoclave step and thiodiglycol was identified by DESI-MS, with analyses generally being completed within one minute using the “dip and shoot” method developed for the rapid analysis of liquid samples.

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Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2009-027 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Oct 2009
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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