Toward understanding the ionization of biomarkers from micrometer particles by bio-aerosol mass spectrometry

Scott C. Russell, Gregg Czerwieniec, Carlito B Lebrilla, Herbert Tobias, David P. Fergenson, Paul Steele, Maurice Pitesky, Joanne Horn, Abneesh Srivastava, Matthias Frank, Eric E. Gard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The appearance of informative signals in the mass spectra of laser-ablated bio-aerosol particles depends on the effective ionization probabilities (EIP) of individual components during the laser ionization process. This study investigates how bio-aerosol chemical composition governs the EIP values of specific components and the overall features of the spectra from the bio-aerosol mass spectrometry (BAMS). EIP values were determined for a series of amino acid, dipicolinic acid, and peptide aerosol particles to determine what chemical features aid in ionization. The spectra of individual amino acids and dipicolinic acid, as well as mixtures, were examined for extent of fragmentation and the presence of molecular ion dimers, which are indicative of ionization conditions. Standard mixtures yielded information with respect to the significance of secondary ion plume reactions on observed spectra. A greater understanding of how these parameters affect EIP and spectra characteristics of bio-aerosols will aid in the intelligent selection of viable future biomarkers for the identification of bio-terrorism agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-909
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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