Electrospray Ionization Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (ESI FT-ICR MS): Characterization of Complex Environmental Mixtures
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Structural and chemical characterization of compounds within complex environmental mixtures provides unique insights into the roles of these compounds in different environmental processes. Here, an emerging technique in environmental chemistry, electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (ESI FT-ICR MS), is described and its applications to the molecular characterization of humic acids and petroleum products are reviewed and examined. ESI is a low-fragmentation ionization technique that preferentially ionizes polar functional groups prior to mass spectrometric analysis. This technique allows the characterization of intact polar macromolecules that are inaccessible to standard chromatographic techniques. ICR MS is an ultrahigh resolution and mass accuracy MS technique based on the detection of ion cyclotron motion within a magnetic field. The combination of ESI FT-ICR MS with other structural techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) allows the unprecedented identification and characterization of polar macromolecules in environmental mixtures and will find numerous applications within environmental chemistry and forensics. (C) 2002 AEHS. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.