University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-759
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Early online date2 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2015


A novel approach is described for the quantitative bioanalysis of drugs in blood samples by ionization of the analytes collected on solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers by mass spectrometry (MS). The technique combines the attractive features of SPME microsampling using minimal sample volumes with the speed, selectivity, and sensitivity capabilities of MS detection. The method reported in this study involved generating gas-phase ions directly from SPME fibers without the need for any additional sample preparation or chromatographic separation; the entire process was completed within 5 min. Traditionally, analytes extracted by SPME fibers are desorbed by washing with suitable solvents followed by a transfer into a sample vial and subsequent liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) analysis to quantify the amount of analyte extracted and thereby determining the analyte concentration in the matrix. These sample preparation steps are completely eliminated by inserting the SPME fiber directly into the MS. Physiologically relevant concentrations of metoprolol and propranolol in blood samples were measured over several orders of magnitude down to concentration levels of 10 ng/mL. This preliminary assessment of direct SPME–MS showed high sensitivity (ng/mL), acceptable reproducibility (<30%), and lack of carryover. This novel approach simplifies current bioanalytical procedures providing time and cost savings. It demonstrates considerable potential for qualitative and quantitative pharmaceutical bioanalysis as well as other areas of challenging environmental and food analysis

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