Nanoparticles (NPs) have been suggested as efficient matrixes for small molecule profiling and imaging by laser-desorption ionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS), but so far there has been no systematic study comparing different NPs in the analysis of various classes of small molecules. Here, we present a large scale screening of 13 NPs for the analysis of two dozen small metabolite molecules. Many NPs showed much higher LDI efficiency than organic matrixes in positive mode and some NPs showed comparable efficiencies for selected analytes in negative mode. Our results suggest that a thermally driven desorption process is a key factor for metal oxide NPs, but chemical interactions are also very important, especially for other NPs. The screening results provide a useful guideline for the selection of NPs in the LDI-MS analysis of small molecules.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/javier_vela-becerra/31/