Mass spectrometers, measuring the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles to determine their molecular weight, have not quite become a routine acquisition for every lab that might benefit from them. Four parts are standard in all mass spectrometers: a sample inlet, an ionization source, a mass analyzer, and an ion detector.
Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Mass Spectrometer
- What factors come into play when determining the MS specifications you require in terms of throughput, sensitivity, robustness, software control, ease of use, and ease of maintenance?
- What differentiates the vendor’s MS from others offered, in terms of performance and how easy it would be to upgrade?
- How do you validate the specification claims presented by the vendor?
- Has the data processing software been designed for enhanced analytics, with lab workflow in mind and does it support critical compliance requirements?
- What are important price points to keep in mind when selecting an MS? 6. Laboratories need fast and effective services, including an effective distribution of spare parts, instruments, service personnel, and education/ training. How does the company serve these needs globally?
Primary application for mass spectrometer use as reported by survey respondents:
|Test water quality or food contamination||30%|
|Determine structures of drugs and metabolites||26%|
|Screen for metabolites in biological systems||25%|
|Determine protein structure, function, folding, and interactions||20%|
|Quantitate (relative or absolute) proteins in a given sample||13%|
|Detect specific post-translational modifications throughout complex biological mixtures||13%|
|Perform forensic analyses||13%|
|Detect disease biomarkers||9%|
Sample types analyzed by survey respondents:
|Blood, body fluids, and cultures||30%|
|Human blood and body fluids||23%|
|Rocks and minerals||18%|
|Food and food related products||17%|
|Petroleum and related products||10%|
Some of the most exciting applications of mass spectrometry, as reported by survey respondents:
- 2-D mapping of metabolites in tissue
- Developing proxies for paleotemperatures
- Proteomic biomarker discovery
- Drug development and discovery
- PFCs in drinking water
- Pesticide analysis
- Metabolite identification