ABSTRACT: Selected-ion flow-tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is particularly suited for the analysis of volatile low molecular weight compounds. We have evaluated this technique for the assay of different alcohols in aqueous solutions, including blood plasma, and in particular whether the osmolality or sample volume affected vapourisation. Solutions of three different alcohols (methanol, ethanol and isopropanol) ranging from 0.005 to 50 mmol/L were prepared in deionised water (0 milliosmol), phosphate-buffered saline (690 mOsm), isotonic saline (294 mOsm) and plasma (296 mOsm). The vapour above the sample (50 to 1000 microL) contained in air-tight tubes at 37 degrees C was aspirated into the instrument. The outputs for ethanol, methanol and isopropanol were linear over the concentration range and independent of the sample volume and relatively independent of the osmolar concentration. SIFT-MS can reliably and accurately measure common alcohols in the headspace above aqueous solutions, including serum/plasma. This novel application of SIFT-MS is easy to follow, requires no sample preparation and the wide dynamic range will facilitate measurement of alcohols present from normal metabolism as well as when taken in excess or in accidental poisoning.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 07/2009; 23(17):2763-7. · 2.79 Impact Factor