Special Issues-10-01-2015

Nowadays, biotherapeutic proteins are available in different formats such as fusion proteins, monoclonal antibodies, or antibody-drug conjugates. The complexity of these molecules requires advanced and comprehensive characterization to guarantee their potency and safety. This work provides an overview of a methodology using an innovative capillary electrophoresis-tandem mass spectrometry coupling (CE-MS-MS) for the characterization of biologics primary structure. This method was applied to perform biosimilarity assessment between two mAbs, distinguishing minor differences like a sole amino acid substitution. Such a level of characterization is permitted by cumulating the specificities of both CE and high-resolution tandem MS using a sheathless interface, therefore renewing the interest for this type of coupling.

The quality and safety of ready-to-eat packaged foods-such as salads-is very difficult for consumers and suppliers to judge, and improving this situation is the focus of a Europe-wide research project. Part of the project is devoted to the development of better methods to detect and analyze the volatile organic compounds released from relevant food types, in an effort to identify biomarkers for quality and microbial contamination. This article examines one important food (melon) and shows how a method based on thermal desorption (TD) with gas chromatography-time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (GC–TOF-MS) can elucidate how key volatiles vary with time of storage and with the size of the melon pieces. The article highlights how such analytical information will be of value in efforts to improve the quality and safety of ready-to-eat foods.

Special Issues

There is often insufficient prevention to ensure safe swimming environments. Recreation water illness (RWI), most commonly in the form of digestional track illness as well as skin, ear, and respiratory infections, are often caused by water contamination from human waste. Stercobilin is a very stable and suitable chemical biomarker of human waste that has the potential to be used for waste monitoring in public swimming facilities. Using solid phase extraction (SPE) techniques paired with high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), we have developed a robust method used for swimming pool water monitoring to create safer swimming environments.

The US EPA has implemented an exposure research program aimed at conducting drinking water research on methods as part of the Microbiological and Chemical Exposure Assessment. This research is aimed at evaluating the chemical pollutants and their role and levels in which there is an unacceptable risk to either humans or wildlife, as well as evaluating the methodologies currently being used to determine levels of chemical pollutants.

Do the signal-to-noise ratios presented by instrument vendors accurately reflect improvements in mass spectrometers? We review factors influencing the validity of vendor SNR specifications, and argue that the statistical alternative of instrument detection limits is more consistent with regulatory guidelines and a more relevant indicator of instrument performance.

Click the title above to open the October 2015 issue of Current Trends in Mass Spectrometry, Volume 13, Number 4, in an interactive PDF format.