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Desorption Electrospray Tandem MS (DESI-MSMS) Analysis of Methyl Centralite and Ethyl Centralite as Gunshot Residues on Skin and Other Surfaces

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A direct and sensitive method for the detection of methyl centralite (MC) and ethyl centralite (EC) as gunshot residues (GSRs) has been developed. This method uses desorption electrospray ionization (DESI)-tandem mass spectrometry and directly desorbs and detects analytes from surfaces without any sampling process. Typical transitions for MC and EC, m/z 241 to m/z 134 and m/z 269 to m/z 148, respectively, were used to improve the assay sensitivity. It has been shown that MC and EC can be detected on various surfaces, with detection limits of 5–70 pg/cm2. Interferences, detection time after shooting and the number of times hands were washed after shooting were also evaluated. None of the materials interfered with the results and the detection window for organic GSRs was up to 12 h and hands could be washed at least six times. Further samples were analyzed to confirm the reliability of this method, and showed that it could discriminate shooters from nonshooters. This method should be of significance in forensic science, especially in analyzing GSRs, because of its simplicity, high throughput, and the direct detection of MC and EC on suspects’ hands, clothes, and hair.
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Keywords: DESI mass spectrometry; DESI-MSMS; crime scene investigation; direct analysis; ethyl centralite; forensic science; gunshot residues; methyl centralite

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, Key Laboratory for Atomic and Molecular Nanosciences of the Education Ministry, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China. 2: The Chinese People’s Armed Police Force Academy, Langfang, China.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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