Bioaerosol mass spectrometry is being developed to analyze and identify biological aerosols in real time. Characteristic mass spectra from individual bacterial endospores of Bacillus subtilis var. niger were obtained in a bipolar aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer using a pulsed 266-nm laser for molecular desorption and ionization. Spectra from single spores collected at an average fluence of ∼0.1 J/cm2 frequently contain prominent peaks attributed to arginine, dipicolinic acid, and glutamic acid, but the shot-to-shot (spore-to-spore) variability in the data may make it difficult to consistently distinguish closely related Bacillus species with an automated routine. Fortunately, a study of the laser power dependence of the mass spectra reveals clear trends and a finite number of "spectral types" that span most of the variability. This, we will show, indicates that a significant fraction of the variability must be attributed to fluence variations in the profile of the laser beam.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry