Comprehensive chemical profiling and identification of compounds in tobacco and tobacco smoke matrices is a challenging task due to the sample complexity and the wide array of analyses required. LC-MS and GC-MS based methods are typically applied as they offer higher selectivity, sensitivity and peak capacity for complex separations. Recent advancements in ion mobility separation provides an additional dimension of gas phase separation orthogonal to chromatographic separation resulting in high quality mass spectral data. Here we present the use of UPLC separations with IM-MS and novel informatics tools for characterization and confident compound identification in 3R4F tobacco and smoke extracts.
Ion mobility separations differentiate compounds based on size, shape, and charge. Ion mobility data was acquired using Vion IMS QTof. UPLC coupled to ion mobility mass spectrometry (IM-MS) provides accurate mass precursor and fragment ion information, retention time, isotope ratios and averaged collision cross-section (CCS) parameters that can be used to build or search mass spectral database. The CCS value provides additional dimension of separation for confident compound identification and is independent of front end chromatography (LC or GC) and matrix effects. The potential of ion mobility for the separation of isomers and chromatographically co-eluting compounds in tobacco and smoke matrices will be presented.