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Adduct formation in electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry with hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography is strongly affected by the inorganic ion concentration of the samples

Erngren, Ida, Haglöf, Jakob, Engskog, Mikael K.R., Nestor, Marika, Hedeland, Mikael, Arvidsson, Torbjörn, Pettersson, Curt
Journal of chromatography 2019 v.1600 pp. 174-182
cations, chemical species, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, hydrophilic interaction chromatography, inorganic ions, potassium, reversed-phase liquid chromatography, sodium, sodium formate
Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC)/ electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has gained interest for the analysis of polar analytes in bioanalytical applications in recent years. However, ESI-MS is prone to adduct formation of analytes. In contrast to reversed phase chromatography, small inorganic ions have retention in HILIC, i.e. analytes and inorganic ions may co-elute, which could influence the adduct formation. In the present paper, it was demonstrated that the co-elution of sodium ions or potassium ions and analytes in HILIC/ESI-MS affect the adduct formation and that different concentrations of sodium ions and potassium ions in biological samples could have an impact on the quantitative response of the respective adducts as well as the quantitative response of the protonated adduct. The co-elution also lead to cluster formation of analytes and sodium formate or potassium formate, causing extremely complicated spectra. In analytical applications using HILIC/ESI-MS where internal standards are rarely used or not properly matched, great care needs to be taken to ensure minimal variation of inorganic ion concentration between samples. Moreover, the use of alkali metal ion adducts as quantitative target ions in relative quantitative applications should be made with caution if proper internal standards are not used.