An atmospheric pressure ionization source using a high voltage target compared to electrospray ionization for the LC/MS analysis of pharmaceutical compounds

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The type and design of an ionization source can have a significant influence on the performances of a bioanalytical method. It is, therefore, of high interest to evaluate the performances of newly introduced sources to highlight their benefits and limitations in comparison to other well established sources. In this paper, liquid chromatography – mass spectrometry (LC/MS) performances of a new atmospheric pressure ionization (API) source, commercialized as UniSpray, is evaluated. The dynamic range of 24 pharmaceutical and biological compounds is compared between the new API source and electrospray ionization (ESI) for 3 different mobile phase conditions. Matrix effects are also compared with ESI on a refined selection of 19 pharmaceutical and biological compounds in 4 matrices commonly encountered in bioanalysis.

A slightly better dynamic range towards lower concentrations was often observed with the new API source. Matrix effects were quite similar between the two sources with a small, but statistically significant, lower percentage of matrix effects observed for the new API source in plasma and bile in the positive ion mode, and bile in negative ion mode for ESI. Finally, the sensitivity of late eluting compounds could be improved on the new API source by post-column addition of water.

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