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Molecules 2012, 17(10), 11507-11537; doi:10.3390/molecules171011507

The Expanding Role of Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Probing Reactive Intermediates in Solution

1
Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research (Ministry of Education of China), Hunan Normal University, 36 Lushan Road, Changsha 410081, China
2
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Central South University, 172 Tongzipo Road, Changsha 410013, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 July 2012 / Revised: 29 August 2012 / Accepted: 5 September 2012 / Published: 27 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reactive Intermediates)
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Abstract

Within the past decade, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) has rapidly occupied a prominent position for liquid-phase mechanistic studies due to its intrinsic advantages allowing for efficient “fishing” (rapid, sensitive, specific and simultaneous detection/identification) of multiple intermediates and products directly from a “real-world” solution. In this review we attempt to offer a comprehensive overview of the ESI-MS-based methodologies and strategies developed up to date to study reactive species in reaction solutions. A full description of general issues involved with probing reacting species from complex (bio)chemical reaction systems is briefly covered, including the potential sources of reactive intermediate (metabolite) generation, analytical aspects and challenges, basic rudiments of ESI-MS and the state-of-the-art technology. The main purpose of the present review is to highlight the utility of ESI-MS and its expanding role in probing reactive intermediates from various reactions in solution, with special focus on current progress in ESI-MS-based approaches for improving throughput, testing reality and real-time detection by using newly developed MS instruments and emerging ionization sources (such as ambient ESI techniques). In addition, the limitations of modern ESI-MS in detecting intermediates in organic reactions is also discussed.
Keywords: intermediates; reactive metabolite; electrospray; ambient ionization; mass spectrometry; chemical trapping; solution intermediates; reactive metabolite; electrospray; ambient ionization; mass spectrometry; chemical trapping; solution
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhu, W.; Yuan, Y.; Zhou, P.; Zeng, L.; Wang, H.; Tang, L.; Guo, B.; Chen, B. The Expanding Role of Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Probing Reactive Intermediates in Solution. Molecules 2012, 17, 11507-11537.

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