Mass Spec Problems

1. Congratulations on receiving your Ph.D and accepting a position at the state crime lab. Your first job is to update the labs standard methods of analysis for drugs of abuse. You remember from Grad School that mass spectrometry is a highly sensitive and structure specific analytical technique. Select the appropriate instrument for detection of minute quantities of illegal drugs. There are constraints; answers must be quantitative, fast, and reproducible. Remember drugs are usually small polar molecules, you have a limited amount of space, and since your work for the state your budget is small. You must justify your answer with regard to ionization source, mass analyzer, dynamic range, footprint, and cost.

2. You finally landed that primo job at Drugs-R-Us Pharmaceuticals. The company will be investing heavily in new drug targets, guided by proteomics. You know from the literature mass spectrometry is the cutting edge instrumentation for analysis of proteins. Do you buy a room full of low resolution, inexpensive ESI instruments, and use brute force? Do you buy 2 complementary high resolution instruments; MALDI and ESI? How about the big enchilada, FTMS, ultra high resolution and mass accuracy? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages associated with each instrument package, with regard to ionization, quantitation, structure elucidation, resolution, and throughput.