Related topics: mass spectrometry · protein

Researchers develop new method to study RNA-drug interactions

How active compounds affect RNA and thus the expression of genes is of great interest for the development of potential therapeutics. Innsbruck chemists have now used a method they recently developed to study the binding of ...

How isotopes reveal insights into ecosystems

Isotopes of elements are like siblings. They have the same number of protons and electrons but a different number of neutrons than the primary form of the element. This difference in neutrons doesn't affect their chemical ...

Discovery of 100 fatty acids opens new research paths

Fatty acids are the molecular building blocks that form the lipids essential for life. While some lipids form cell membranes, others are present naturally as triglycerides in body fat and the waxes on our hair and skin.

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Mass spectrometry

Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique for the determination of the elemental composition of a sample or molecule. It is also used for elucidating the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and other chemical compounds. The MS principle consists of ionizing chemical compounds to generate charged molecules or molecule fragments and measurement of their mass-to-charge ratios. In a typical MS procedure:

MS instruments consist of three modules: an ion source, which can convert gas phase sample molecules into ions (or, in the case of electrospray ionization, move ions that exist in solution into the gas phase); a mass analyzer, which sorts the ions by their masses by applying electromagnetic fields; and a detector, which measures the value of an indicator quantity and thus provides data for calculating the abundances of each ion present. The technique has both qualitative and quantitative uses. These include identifying unknown compounds, determining the isotopic composition of elements in a molecule, and determining the structure of a compound by observing its fragmentation. Other uses include quantifying the amount of a compound in a sample or studying the fundamentals of gas phase ion chemistry (the chemistry of ions and neutrals in a vacuum). MS is now in very common use in analytical laboratories that study physical, chemical, or biological properties of a great variety of compounds.

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