J Am Soc Mass Spectrom 2019 Apr 18. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
Department of Chemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 29634, USA.
Many fundamental questions of astrophysics, biochemistry, and geology rely on the ability to accurately and precisely measure the mass and abundance of isotopes. Taken a step further, the capacity to perform such measurements on intact molecules provides insights into processes in diverse biological systems. Described here is the coupling of a combined atomic and molecular (CAM) ionization source, the liquid sampling-atmospheric pressure glow discharge (LS-APGD) microplasma, with a commercially available ThermoScientific Fusion Lumos mass spectrometer. Demonstrated for the first time is the ionization and isotopically resolved fingerprinting of a long-postulated, but never mass-spectrometrically observed, bi-metallic complex Hg:Se-cysteine. Such a complex has been implicated as having a role in observations of Hg detoxification by selenoproteins/amino acids. Demonstrated as well is the ability to mass spectrometrically-resolve the geochronologically important isobaric Sr and Rb species (Δm ~ 0.3 mDa, mass resolution m/Δm ≈ 1,700,000). The mass difference in this case reflects the beta-decay of the Rb to the stable Sr isotope. These two demonstrations highlight what may be a significant change in bioinorganic and atomic mass spectrometry, with impact expected across a broad spectrum of the physical, biological, and geological sciences. Graphical Abstract ".