Derivatization is used to increase both negative-ion sensitivity and positive-ion sequence information in the liquid secondary-ion mass spectra (LSIMS) of a series of peptides. The derivatization method involves acylation with pentafluorobenzoyl fluoride in a single-step reaction, and the reaction mixture is applied directly to the probe tip for analysis. Acylation takes place at the unprotected N-terminus, tyrosine, and lysine. The derivatives exhibit increased signal-to-noise ratio for [M-H]- ions, especially where there is not already an acidic amino acid residue in the peptide. In positive-ion LSIMS, the N-terminal group acts to retain the charge at the N-terminus, simplifying the fragmentation by producing N-terminal fragment ions. It also increases positive-ion fragmentation, sometimes very dramatically, making sequence determination more straightforward. The simplicity of the process, together with the enhancements it provides, make this a generally useful method for obtaining peptide structural information.