IonSense, Inc
 March 2012   
What's New with DART? 
The latest developments and news on DART Mass Spectrometry


We are excited about the new product we just released called the DART®-OS Source.  It uses the new OpenSpot® Sample Cards for easily moving the sample from the bench to the instrument, saving time and lots of consumables along they way.

We will be showing it at Pittcon in Orlando next week so please stop by Booth 2609 and say hello.

Also as usual the DART community continues to publish exciting work, and a few examples are below.

Please have a look and contact me if you have any questions or comments. Thanks.


BM signature

Brian Musselman
President and CEO
IonSense, Inc.
  OpenSpot Mass Spectrometry with the DART-OS Source   

The new DART-OS Source is for rapid analysis of raw materials, formulations, reaction products, and unknown materials.  The source uses our OpenSpot Sample Cards for sampling, transfer to the lab, and analysis; streamlining your analysis.  The OpenSpot Sample Cards are simple to use and can eliminates the need to dissolve samples in solvents and transfer to and from sample containers.  This should greatly reduce your need for a number of consumables.


Features of the DART-OS include:

  • An enclosed desorption ionization region for containing vapors and minimizing sample contamination
  • Reproducible sample positioning for improved quantitation
  • Easy-to-implement dopant methods for ionizating or derivatizing challenging samples
  • Vacuum connection port for additional pumping on the sample housing
  • Simplified hardware for quickly mounting and dismounting to your LC/MS

The DART-OS has a closed area around the DART ionization region and this minimizes sample contamination and contains vapors within the device.  The region also has a pumping port if you need to evacuate harsh vapors such as derivatizing agents or dopants used for analysis of more complex samples.  


Here on the left is an image showing the position of the OpenSpot Sample Card inserted into the DART-OS Source.  The housing was removed to show the details of the system

The OS-module mounts between the DART source and MS instrument and can be readily removed to reveal the traditional open area for DART sampling. In addition to using the OpenSpot Cards, this allows the analysis of a variety of samples such as leaves, textiles, plastics, or sample collection devices such as SPME fibers or swabs.

The new DART-OS source utilizes Transmission-mode DART ionization by passing the heated carrier gas through the sample held on the screen of the OpenSpot Card.  Sample preparation for the DART-OS involves deposition of a microliter or two of liquid directly on the OpenSpot Card screen. The screen density is sufficient so that the liquid does not pass through it. You can also just rub a solid on the screen and deposit a few grains onto the mesh.  You just drop the card into the top slot, which places the sample directly into the path of the heated ionizing gas exiting the source.  The DART gas then flows through the metal screen, resulting in uniform thermal desorption and ionization.

The OS-Module is designed to operate with existing DART-SVP sources and LC/MS instruments from vendors including AB SCIEX, Agilent, Bruker, JEOL, Shimadzu, Thermo, and Waters.  


Recent DART Publications 

Elena S. Chernetsova, Maciej Bromirski, Olaf Scheibner and Gertrud E. Morlock   

Institute of Food Chemistry, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstrasse 28, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany; Institute of Nutritional Science, Justus-Liebig-University of Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26, 35392 Giessen, Germany; People's Friendship University of Russia, Miklukho-Maklaya st. 6, 117198 Moscow, Russia; Thermo Fisher Scientific, Hanna-Kunath-Strasse 11, 28199 Bremen, Germany


This is the first direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) study of propolis and a first study on the analysis of bee products using high-resolution DART-MS (DART-HRMS). Identification of flavonoids and other phenolic compounds in propolis using direct analysis in real-time coupling with Orbitrap mass spectrometry (DART-Orbitrap MS) was performed in the negative ion mode for minimizing the matrix effects, while the positive ion mode was used for the confirmation of selected compounds. Possible elemental formulae were suggested for marker components. The duration of one sample analysis by DART-MS analysis lasted ca. 30 s, and all benefits of high-resolution mass spectrometry were used upon data processing using the coupling of DART with the Orbitrap mass spectrometer. The possibility for scanning analysis of dried propolis extract spots on a planar porous surface was investigated in the heated gas flow of the DART ion source with adjustable angle. As an independent method, the approach of scanning analysis is of high interest and of future potential for confirmation of the results obtained from liquid sample analysis. Scanning analysis is highly promising for further development in the bioanalytical field due to the convenience of the storage and transportation of dried sample spots.

Karim Bentayeb, Luke K. Ackerman, and Timothy H. Begley
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland 20740, United States

Set-off is the unintentional transfer of substances used in printing from the external printed surface of food packaging to the inner, food-contact surface. Ambient ionization-accurate mass spectrometry (AMI-AMS) detected and identified compounds from print set-off not visible to the human eye. AMI mass spectra from inner and outer surfaces of printed and nonprinted food packaging were compared to detect and identify nonvisible set-off components. A protocol to identify unknowns was developed using a custom open-source database of printing inks and food-packaging compounds. The protocol matched print-related food-contact surface ions with the molecular formulas of common ions, isotopes, and fragments of compounds from the database. AMI-AMS was able to detect print set-off and identify seven different compounds. Set-off on the packaging samples was confirmed using gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) analysis of single-sided solvent extracts. N-Ethyl-2(and 4)-methylbenzenesulfonamide, 2,4-diphenyl-4-methyl-1(and 2)-pentene, and 2,4,7,9-tetramethyl-5-decyne-4,7-diol were present on the food-contact layer at concentrations from 0.21 to 2.7 ± 1.6 μg dm-2, corresponding to nearly milligram per kilogram concentrations in the packaged food. Other minor set-off compounds were detected only by AMI-AMS, a fast, simple, and thorough technique to detect and identify set-off in food packaging.

Yu Bai, Jialing Zhang, Yu Bai and Huwei Liu
Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of Ministry of Education, Institute of Analytical Chemistry, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871 China

A rapid, simple, and efficient method for the fast determination of multiple phytohormones was developed in this work, based on single-drop liquid-liquid-liquid microextraction (SD-LLLME) combined with direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS). Six phytohormones-indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA), abscisic acid (ABA), and gibberellin A3 (GA3)-were analyzed simultaneously using this method, and the conditions employed for DART-MS and SD-LLLME were optimized systematically. Satisfactory results were obtained in terms of linearity (R 2 values for all phytohormones were 0.991-0.996), sensitivity (limits of detection were 0.65-72 ng/mL), and repeatability (RSD values were 6.9-14%). In addition, the proposed method was applied to determine the endogenous phytohormones in three kinds of fruit juice. Different concentrations of phytohormones were detected with satisfactory recoveries, and the whole analytical procedure took no more than 30 min. Therefore, this combination of SD-LLLME and DART-MS was shown to be a suitable and effective approach for the fast analysis of targets present at trace level concentrations in complex matrices.

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About IonSense  
IonSense, Inc. provides OpenSpot Mass Spectrometry™ solutions to the fields of food safety, forensics, drug development, and chemical analysis. They manufacture and develop direct analysis in real time (DART®) technology licensed from JEOL USA, Inc. and atmospheric solids analysis probe (ASAP™) licensed from M&M Consulting.

DART and ASAP Sources are available for most commercial LC/MS systems.  Look here to see if your system is DART-ready.  And  check here to see if your system is ASAP-ready.