Fast-atom bombardment and tandem mass spectrometry of macrolide antibiotics

Ronald L. Cerny, Denise K. MacMillan, Michael L. Gross, Alan K. Mallams, Birendra N. Pramanik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molecular weights of macrolide antibiotics can be determined from either (M + H)+ or (M + Met)+, the latter desorbed from alkali metal salt-saturated matrices. The ion chemistry of macrolides, as determined by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), is different for ions produced as metallated than those formed as (M + H)+ species. An explanation for these differences is the location of the charge. For protonated species, the charge is most likely situated on a functional group with high proton affinity, such as the dimethylamino group of the ammo sugar. The alkali metal ion, however, is bonded to the highly oxygenated aglycone. As a result, the collision-activated dissociation spectra of protonated macrolides are simple with readily identifiable fragment ions in both the high and low mass regions but no fragments in the middle mass range. In contrast, the cationized species give complex spectra with many abundant ions, most of which are located in the high mass range. The complementary nature of the fragmentation of these two species recommends the study of both by MS/MS when determining the structure or confirming the identity of these biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-158
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994


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