Sampling analytes from cheese products for fast detection using neutral desorption extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry
Zhongchen Wu, Konstantin Chingin, Huanwen Chen, Liang Zhu, Bin Jia, R. Zenobi
The development of analytical techniques suitable for sensitive, high-throughput, and nondestructive food analysis has been of increasing interest in recent years. In this study, mass-spectral fingerprints of various cheese products were rapidly recorded in the mass range of m/z 50-300 Da without any sample pretreatment, using neutral desorption extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ND-EESI-MS) in negative ion mode.
The results demonstrate that both volatile and nonvolatile analytes on greasy cheese surfaces can be directly sampled by a neutral desorption gas beam. The influence of the neutral desorption gas flow on the analyte signal was systematically investigated. Under optimized experimental conditions, reproducible results were obtained using ND-EESI-MS. Principal component analysis was applied to differentiate a total of 49 individual cheese samples (four different types), which were purchased from three different supermarkets. All samples were successfully classified according to their types; but distributors and sensory properties were not distinguishable from the spectra data. The principal components 2, 3, and 4 scores showed an excellent capacity of distinguishing types of cheese. Molecular markers of interest can be identified using tandem mass spectrometry and matching the data with those from reference compounds. The experimental data show that ND-EESI-MS is able to sensitively and directly detect analytes on greasy surfaces without chemical contamination, providing a convenient method for high-throughput food analysis with a high degree of safety.