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Bioaerosol detection by aerosol TOF-mass spectrometry: Application of matrix assisted laser desorption/ionisation

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Author: Wuijckhuijse, A.L. van · Stowers, M.A. · Kientz, Ch.E. · Marijnissen, J.C.M. · Scarlett, B.
Source:Journal of Aerosol Science, SUPPL.1, 31, S1013-S1014
Identifier: 235749
Keywords: ATOFMS · Bioaerosol · MALDI · Composition · Electrodeposition · Mass spectrometry · Particle size analysis · Bioaerosols · Atmospheric aerosols


In previous publications the use of an aerosol time of flight mass spectrometer was reported for the on-line measurements of aerosols (Weiss 1997, Kievit 1995). The apparatus is capable of measuring the size as well as the chemical composition, by the use of Laser Desorption/Ionisation (LDI), of an aerosol particle. A drawback of LDI principle is the direct ionisation mechanism, causing extensive break-up of large biological molecules and thereby losing characteristic information. Interest in, and the ability of, detection of large molecules of biological origin has increased since Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionisation (MALDI) mass spectrometry has shown that mass spectra of bacteria and spores can be used for identification of bacterial species and even bacterial strains. In MALDI-systems a matrix material has been applied which is able to absorb the energy of an ionisation pulse. The energy is released as heat to the aerosol particle, resulting into a softer ionisation, than is the case by traditional LDI. Combination of aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS) and MALDI-mass spectrometry might therefore provide a tool to investigate the biological origin of the 'Sick Building-syndrome", the biocontent of atmospheric aerosols and become a detector for biological weapons.