Submitted to: Journal of Association of Official Analytical Chemists International
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2010
Publication Date: 9/1/2010
Citation: Heller, D.N., Lehotay, S.J., Matos, P.A., Hammack, W., Fernandez-Alba, A.R. 2010. Issues in mass spectrometry between bench chemists and regulatory laboratory managers. Journal of Association of Official Analytical Chemists International. 93(5):1625-1632. Interpretive Summary: Due to its ability to simultaneously quantify and identify a wide range of chemicals, mass spectrometry (MS) has emerged as the most common analytical tool to monitor chemical residues in foods in a variety of applications, including regulatory analysis to help ensure food safety. MS instruments are more expensive and complicated than previous analytical tool used for routine analysis in monitoring labs. The chemists and managers who have recently switched to using MS approaches are typically familiar with the capabilities and advantages of MS approaches, but unaware of its limitations and disadvantages. The more sophisticated MS instruments require sophisticated users of the technology, and this paper is designed to provide information to novices of MS approaches to help them properly implement the advanced analytical tools in their labs. The authors also communicate their practical views in how to address common situations in MS analysis that pertain to all MS users. This increases uniformity in how to handle uncertainties in analysis and reduces the chances of mistakes and false accusations made in the regulatory arena.
Technical Abstract: At the 123rd AOAC Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, 45 residue chemists gathered for a roundtable discussion of mass spectrometry (MS) for regulatory purposes involving chemical residues analysis. The session was conceived to address current technical and communication issues about MS between “bench chemists and their bosses.” The topics covered a range of practical, routine, and recurring issues on capabilities and limitations of MS techniques, and suggestions on how chemists may better communicate their MS results with customers. The customers in this sense include laboratory managers, quality assurance officers, lab clients, regulatory officials, policy-makers, lawyers, and others who have interest in the data. The stated goals devised by the roundtable panelists were to provide independent advice, describe limitations, give practical tips, help set realistic expectations, and answer questions from the attendees. The panelists divided the topics into three main themes: practical aspects in routine analysis using MS, choice of MS technique depending on the purpose for analysis; and qualitative identification and confirmation concepts. This report was written to summarize and expand upon the discussion, frame the current issues, and to provide advice on handling common situations in MS analysis and reporting of results. Topics covered include limits of detection, data quality objectives, quantitation and reporting results, matrix effects, calibration, terminology, differences in performance across MS platforms, proficiency testing, qualitative analysis, and lab accreditation.