The rapid release of new tobacco products requires high-throughout quantitative methods to support tobacco research. Sample preparation for LC-MS and GC-MS is time consuming and limits throughput. In an article published in Analytical Methods, researchers in the Glish Group, in collaboration with the Marsico Lung Institute & Cystic Fibrosis Research Center at UNC, propose and validate Paper Spray Tandem Mass Spectrometry, PS-MS/MS, as a simple and rapid method for quantification of nicotine and cotinine in complex matrices to support tobacco-related research.
Air liquid interface, ALI, human tracheobronchial epithelial cell, HTBEC, cultures were exposed to tobacco smoke using a Vitrocell VC-10 smoking machine. Apical culture washes, phosphate buffered saline, PBS, and basolateral media were analyzed with the PS-MS/MS method. GC-MS/MS was used as a comparative quantitative technique.
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The PS-MS/MS approach allowed for direct spotting of samples on the paper substrate, whereas the GC-MS/MS method required additional sample preparation in the form of solvent–solvent extraction. Limits of quantitation, LOQs, were higher with the PS-MS/MS approach than GC-MS/MS, but still below the relevant concentrations found in HTBEC smoke exposure experiments as well as most clinical applications.
PS-MS/MS is readily achieved on mass spectrometers that include atmospheric pressure inlets, and allows for convenient quantification from complex matrices that would otherwise require additional sample preparation and chromatographic separation.