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Sensitive and rapid screening of low-mass hazardous compounds

By Paul Grad |

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, China; www.cas.cn) and Fuzhou University (Fuzhou, China; www.fzu.edu.cn), led by the Academy’s Prof Qian Liu, have reported a new method for high-throughput, sensitive, and rapid screening of low-mass hazardous compounds in complex media without the need for complicated sample preparation. Current methods for screening blood, urine or river water for toxic substances involve multiple steps that require expensive equipment and may require days to complete. Traditionally, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has provided a powerful tool for high-throughput analysis of large molecules such as proteins, peptides, and polymers. However, its application to small molecules is hindered by insufficient sensitivity, ionization suppression effect, and matrix interferences in low-mass regions. To speed up the process, the researchers tested four commercially available tubular mesoporous forms of carbon and silica for their ability to act as molecular sieves. The mesoporous materials are particles made of bundles of nanotubes with aligned channels, 4 to 7 nm in diameter. The researchers used those materials to concentrate small molecules…
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