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Quantification and Compensation of Unintentional Analyte Aggregation in Electrospray Sampling



Mingdong M. Li, Suvajyoti S. Guha, Rebecca A. Zangmeister, Michael J. Tarlov, Michael R. Zachariah


Electrospray (ES) sources are commonly used to introduce non-volatile materials (e.g. nanoparticles, proteins, etc.) in to the gas phase for characterization by mass spectrometry and ion mobility. Recent studies in our group using electrospray ion mobility to characterize protein aggregation in solution have raised the question as to whether the electrospray itself induces aggregation and thus corrupts the results. In this paper we develop a statistical model to determine the extent to which the ES process induces the formation of dimers and higher order aggregates. The model is validated through ES- differential mobility experiments using gold nanoparticles. The results show that the extent of droplet induced aggregation is quite severe, and that previously reported cut-off criterion are inadequate. We use the model in conjunction with experiment to show the true dimer concentration in a protein solution as a function of concentration. The model is extendable to any ES source-analytical system and to higher aggregation states.
Analytical Chemistry


Electrospray, Aggregation, Protein


Li, M. , Guha, S. , Zangmeister, R. , Tarlov, M. and Zachariah, M. (2011), Quantification and Compensation of Unintentional Analyte Aggregation in Electrospray Sampling, Analytical Chemistry, [online], (Accessed May 23, 2024)


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Created March 30, 2011, Updated June 3, 2020