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

We have been busy lately and would like to show you some of our recent developments in applications and hardware.  Also as usual, there are some interesting new publications on a variety of topics.

For those in the area, we will be presenting DART-quadrupole MS for synthesis monitoring at the upcoming Eastern Analytical Symposium in Somerset, NJ Nov 12-14.

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


BM signature

Brian Musselman
President and CEO
IonSense, Inc.
Recent Development from IonSense


We have two recent presentations that highlight the use of DART for rapid pesticide screening as well as some preliminary research into the coupling of DART with the Agilent® MSD.  Just click the titles or images to view the presentations. 


  • Pesticide Screening
    • FDA swab screening method 
  • Quantitative Pesticide Analysis in Orange Juice
    • 1-D Transmission Experiment Module
    • Fast liquid analysis - Carbendazim in orange juices
    • Stir-bar sorptive concentration followed by DART-MS 
  • X-Z scanner Experiment Module
    • Higher throughput option for liquid sample analysis - up to 96 samples per run
    • Mycotoxin Screening
    • High-res accurate mass screening with DART-SVP  







Implementation of Ambient Pressure Desorption Ionization on an Agilent Mass Selective Detector  

  • Head-space of fragrance, phthalate screening and dietary supplements fingerprint
  • Agilent 5973 GC/MS has been modified to permit interface of a DART source.
  • The three stage design permits ionization at atmospheric pressure and operation of the MS at its normal pressure
  • The mass spectra acquired match those acquired with conventional DART LC/MS
  • Operation with either nitrogen or helium yield comparable mass spectra



Download the latest DART Food Safety and Quality Book of Abstracts 2012


See the 2011-2012 abstracts of DART papers on topics such as drug adulteration in dietary
supplements, isoflavones in soybeans, chemometric classification of medicinal herbs, or screening pesticides on fruit and vegetable surfaces.  



Recent DART Publications


Direct Monitoring of the Role Played by a Stabilizer in a Solid Sample of Polymer Using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry: The Case of Irgafos 168 in Polyethylene

Institut d'Electronique et de Télécommunication de Rennes (IETR UMR CNRS 6164), Université de Rennes 1, Campus de Beaulieu, 263 Avenue du General Leclerc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France,  Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Département de Chimie, 6 Avenue le Gorgeu, 29238 Brest Cedex 03, France
Direct analysis in real time (DART) ionization method is used with a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer to perform the analysis of industrial polyethylene pellets free of additives or containing Irgafos 168 as stabilizing agent without any sampling step. The developed analytical method uses the [M + H]+ ion of the bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) for performing the exact mass measurements of the stabilizer and polymer ions using the mass drift compensation procedure available on the AccuTOF mass spectrometer. DEHP is in fact a plastic contaminant always presents on the mass spectra of the analyzed samples. The mass spectra allow one to characterize either the ions of the polyethylene and that of the Irgafos. The analysis of thermally treated samples show that the polymer does not undergo any degradation when the Irgafos is present in the bulk of the material, and the role played by the Irgafos 168 is that of an oxygen trapping agent. Under UV exposure, the DART-TOF MS analyses performed on the exposed polyethylene pellets shows that the Irgafos 168 behavior toward the UV radiations is different since this one reacts by cleavages of its P-O bonds to prevent the degradation of the polymer. These interpretations are supported by all the elemental formula determination of the detected ions. 

Rapid quality assessment of Radix Aconiti Preparata using direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry


Hongbin Zhua, Chunyan Wanga, Yao Qia, Fengrui Songa, Zhiqiang Liua, Shuying Liua 

Changchun Center of Mass Spectrometry & Chemical Biology Laboratory, Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130022, China

University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China

This study presents a novel and rapid method to identify chemical markers for the quality control of Radix Aconiti Preparata, a world widely used traditional herbal medicine. In the method, the samples with a fast extraction procedure were analyzed using direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART MS) combined with multivariate data analysis. At present, the quality assessment approach of Radix Aconiti Preparata was based on the two processing methods recorded in Chinese Pharmacopoeia for the purpose of reducing the toxicity of Radix Aconiti and ensuring its clinical therapeutic efficacy. In order to ensure the safety and effectivity in clinical use, the processing degree of Radix Aconiti should be well controlled and assessed. In the paper, hierarchical cluster analysis and principal component analysis were performed to evaluate the DART MS data of Radix Aconiti Preparata samples in different processing times. The results showed that the well processed Radix Aconiti Preparata, unqualified processed and the raw Radix Aconiti could be clustered reasonably corresponding to their constituents. The loading plot shows that the main chemical markers having the most influence on the discrimination amongst the qualified and unqualified samples were mainly some monoester diterpenoid aconitines and diester diterpenoid aconitines, i.e. benzoylmesaconine, hypaconitine, mesaconitine, neoline, benzoylhypaconine, benzoylaconine, fuziline, aconitine and 10-OH-mesaconitine. The established DART MS approach in combination with multivariate data analysis provides a very flexible and reliable method for quality assessment of toxic herbal medicine.

Evaluating agarwood products for 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones using direct analysis in real time time-of-flight mass spectrometry


Cady Lancaster, Edgard Espinoza

National Fish & Wildlife Forensic Lab, Ashland, OR, USA  



Agarwood is the resinous material harvested from threatened Aquilaria species. We investigated how many protonated 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromone ions were sufficient to make an accurate identification of agarwood. Analysis of 125 reference samples was carried out by direct analysis in real time time-of-flight mass spectrometry (DART-TOFMS). The identification criteria developed were applied to commercial samples.


We developed a technique that uses DART-TOFMS to detect 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones. Additionally, we developed a set of criteria to infer the presence of Aquilaria in commercial samples of wood chips, sawdust, incense and liquids. Additionally, we examined other fragrant woods to determine if they contained a chemical profile that could be falsely identified as agarwood.


Analysis of reference and commercial samples (n = 151) established that DART-TOFMS provides reproducible mass spectra that are useful for inferring the genus of suspected agarwood samples. We identified 17 ions which were useful for authenticating agarwood. Comparison of the number of chromone ions detected by direct analyses of dry wood chips versus eluent analysis of methanol-extracted wood showed that results were similar. Lastly, analysis of 25 scented woods of other species did not give false positive results.


Reliable criteria for inferring agarwood include the presence of diagnostic ions, m/z 319.118 or 349.129, in addition to ten or more ions characteristic of 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones. Wood anatomists challenged with difficult morphological identifications can use this tool to assist in their analyses.  





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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.