A new approach for the study of gas-phase ion-ion reactions using electrospray ionization

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Abstract

A simple flow reactor which facilitates the study and application of ion-ion and ion-molecule reactions at near atmospheric pressures is reported. Reactant ions were generated by electrospray ionization and discharge ionization methods, although any ionization sources amenable to atmospheric pressure may be used. Ions of opposite charge are generated in spatially separate ion sources and are swept into capillary inlets where the flows are merged and where reaction(s) can occur. Among the reactions investigated were the partial neutralization of multiply protonated polypeptides and proteins such as melittin, bradykinin, cytochrome c, and myoglobin by reaction with discharge-generated anions, the partial neutralization of multiply charged anions of oligodeoxyadenylic acid (d(pA)3) by reaction with discharge-generated cations, the partial neutralization of bovine A-chain insulin anions by reaction with myoglobin [M+nH]n+ ions, and the reaction of multiply protonated melittin with discharge-generated cations. The cation-anion reactions generally resulted in a shift to lower charge (higher mass-to-charge ratio) in the products’ charge state distributions and the transfer of solvent molecules to the macromolecule products. Multiply protonated melittin was detected in a less highly solvated state with the positive discharge in operation.