GC-MS analysis of amino acid enantiomers as theirN(O,S)-perfluoroacyl perfluoroalkyl esters: Application to space analysis
The target of the in-situ research of optical activity in extraterrestrial samples stimulated an extended investigation of a GC-MS method based on the derivatization of amino acids by using a mixture of perfluorinated alcohols and perfluorinated anhydrides. Amino acids are converted to their N(O,S)-perfluoroacyl perfluoroalkyl esters in a single-step procedure, using different combinations of the derivatization reagents trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA)-2,2,2-trifluoro-1-ethanol (TFE), TFAA-2,2,3,3,4,4,4-heptafluoro-1-butanol (HFB), and heptafluorobutyric anhydride (HFBA)-HFB. The derivatives obtained are analyzed using two different chiral columns: Chirasil-L-Val and gamma-cyclodextrin (Rt-gamma-DEXsa) stationary phases which show different and complementary enantiomeric selectivity. The mass spectra of the derivatives are studied, and mass fragmentation patterns are proposed: significant fragment ions can be identified to detect amino acid derivatives. The obtained results are compared in terms of the enantiomeric separation achieved and mass spectrometric response. Linearity studies and the measurement of the limit of detection (LOD) show that the proposed method is suitable for a quantitative determination of enantiomers of several amino acids. The use of the programmed temperature vaporiser (PTV) technique for the injection of the untreated reaction mixture is a promising method for avoiding manual treatment of the sample and decreasing the LOD.