Mass spectrometry’s ability to multiplex and analyze complex samples (air, water, culture media, bodily fluids, and food) adds immense value in biothreat scenarios.
The rapid advancement of ambient ionization mass spectrometry (AIMS) provides promising opportunities for rapid, real-time, and accurate analysis of trace emerging pathogenic microorganisms and toxins.
This review article provides an overview of several exemplary applications of AIMS in biodefense, as well as discusses other perspectives of AIMS in battlefield detection. In most mass spec analyses, samples typically undergo purification and separation procedures prior to introduction into mass spectrometers. However, AIMS is ideal for in-situ analysis.
AIMS techniques are designed to take advantage of well-established ionization principles such as electrospray (ESI), chemical ionization (CI), photoionization, etc., but they allow samples to be ionized outside the mass spectrometer in an open laboratory environment or their original conditions, thereby minimizing the need for extensive sample preparation.
The advantages of AIMS, including its speed and ease of use, have motivated researchers to implement it in various fields, including biomedical and bioanalytical analysis, food and agriculture, environmental sciences, forensics, and homeland security.
Ambient ionization mass spectrometry for rapid detection of biological warfare agents and their simulants. Microchemical Journal, November 2023.