Mass spectrometric methods: an answer for macromolecule analysis in the 1990s

Michael L. Gross, Ronald L. Cerny, Daryl E. Giblin, Don L. Rempel, Denise K. MacMillan, Peifeng Hu, Christopher L. Holliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The field of mass spectrometry is now well developed for solving analytical and structural problems involving substances with molecular weights less than ca. 1000. The future challenge for mass spectrometry is in the area of macromolecule analysis and structural biology. This challenge will be met on two fronts. One is structural analysis of pieces of macromolecules, a task for tandem mass spectrometers. Tandem sector instruments offer sufficient control, reproducibility of results and ease of set-up that they will play a major role in structure studies. When designed to operate with extended array detectors, tandem sector instruments will also offer subpicomole detection limits. The second front is molecular weight measurements. Exciting advances include matrix-assisted laser desorption and electrospray ionization. The need for better means of mass analysis is forecast, and it is suggested that the Fourier transform mass spectrometer can meet the challenge. Success awaits a better understanding of the dynamics of high-mass ions. One route to improved understanding is outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-130
Number of pages26
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Oct 1 1991


  • Biological samples
  • Fourier transform
  • Macromolecules
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Tandem sector mass spectrometers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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