Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mass Spectrometry of Living Subjects

21.09.2007
New sampling method allows direct mass-spectrometric analysis of the skin’s surface

In science fiction movies, it happens all the time: A small device is briefly held against the skin of a sick crewmember and seconds later the monitor displays what ails him. This futuristic image could someday be real.

Researchers from the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, describe a first step in this direction in the journal Angewandte Chemie: a new method of sampling living biological organisms for direct mass-spectrometric examination.

By using a beam of nitrogen, substances from the skin of a test subject can be directed into a mass spectrometer for rapid and precise analysis. Aside from rapid clinical diagnosis without blood samples, this new technique could be enlisted for research into metabolic processes, doping tests, defense against terrorism, and the inspection of foods.

... more about:
»Spectrometer »Surface »mass »mass spectrometer

In recent years, mass spectrometry has developed into an important analytical technique for biological samples. For the actual analysis, the matrix of the sample must be removed so that the desired analytes can be accurately detected. This complicated sample preparation makes routine examinations with high sample throughput difficult.

The new process developed by Renato Zenobi and his group (an advancement on their process for breath analysis as reported in Angewandte Press Release 44/06) works without needing such efforts. Instead of introducing samples into an electrospray mass spectrometer (ESI-MS) in solution, as in the usual procedure, and atomizing them with a gas, the analytes in the new process are “sucked” right off the surface. Nitrogen is blown through a small nozzle onto the sample surface, such as the skin of a test subject. When the gas strikes the surface, it takes up semivolatile substances. The gas stream is then directed right into the electrospray source of the mass spectrometer. Here it crosses a stream of charged water droplets that take up the molecules of interest and charge them. Analysis takes only seconds.

This method allows chemical “fingerprints” to be taken from human skin. For example, it is possible to detect if someone is a smoker, or if a test subject has had a cup of coffee. The researchers were able to detect traces of explosives and model substances for chemical weapons. “This new method is not technically complicated,” explains Zenobi, “ordinary electrospray mass spectrometers can quickly and easily be adapted.”

Mass screening of food could also be carried out rapidly, inexpensively, and reliably with this new technique. Frozen samples like meat or fish do not even need to be thawed. Spoiled food can be detected by a characteristic change in its molecular fingerprint.

Author: Renato Zenobi, ETH Zürich (Switzerland), http://www.zenobi.ethz.ch/zenobi.html

Title: Neutral Desorption Sampling of Living Objects for Rapid Analysis by Extractive Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry

Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2007, 46, No. 40, 7591–7594, doi: 10.1002/anie.200702200

Renato Zenobi | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.zenobi.ethz.ch/zenobi.html
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

Further reports about: Spectrometer Surface mass mass spectrometer

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Glycosylation: Mapping Uncharted Territory
21.09.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Glycosylation: Mapping Uncharted Territory

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?

21.09.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>