Rapid direct analysis in real time (DART) mass spectrometric detection of juvenile hormone III and its terpene precursors

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Dec;398(7-8):3005-13. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4269-4. Epub 2010 Oct 9.


Direct analysis in real time (DART) is a plasma-based ambient ionization technique that enables rapid ionization of small molecules with high sample throughput. In this work, DART was coupled to an orthogonal (oa) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer and the system was optimized for analyzing a vital hormonal regulator in insects, juvenile hormone (JH) III and its terpene precursors, namely, farnesol, farnesoic acid, and methyl farnesoate. Optimization experiments were planned using design of experiments (DOE) full factorial models to identify the most significant DART variables contributing to JH III analysis sensitivity by DART-TOF mass spectrometry (MS). The optimized DART-TOF MS method had femtomole to sub-picomole detection limits for terpene standards, along with mass accuracies below 5 ppm. Finally, the possibility of distinguishing between two farnesol isomers by in-source-collision-induced dissociation (CID) in the first differentially pumped region of the oaTOF mass spectrometer was investigated. DART-MS enabled high-throughput, sensitive analysis with acquisition times ranging from 30 s to a minute. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the application of DART-MS to the detection and identification of volatile or semi-volatile insect terpenoids, and on the use of DOE approaches to optimize DART-MS analytical procedures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sesquiterpenes / analysis*
  • Terpenes / analysis*


  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • juvenile hormone III