SIFT-MS and FA-MS methods for ambient gas phase analysis: developments and applications in the UK
Selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry, SIFT-MS, a relatively new gas/vapour phase analytical method, is derived from the much earlier selected ion flow tube, SIFT, used for the study of gas phase ion-molecule reactions. Both the SIFT and SIFT-MS techniques were conceived and developed in the UK, the former at Birmingham University, the latter at Keele University along with the complementary flowing afterglow mass spectrometry, FA-MS, technique. The focus of this short review is largely to describe the origins, developments and, most importantly, the unique features of SIFT-MS as an analytical tool for ambient analysis and to indicate its growing use to analyse humid air, especially exhaled breath, its unique place as a on-line, real time analytical method and its growing use and applications as a non-invasive diagnostic in clinical diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring, principally within several UK universities and hospitals, and briefly in the wider world. A few case studies are outlined that show the potential of SIFT-MS and FA-MS in the detection and quantification of metabolites in exhaled breath as a step towards recognising pathophysiology indicative of disease and the presence of bacterial and fungal infection of the airways and lungs. Particular cases include the detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection of the airways of patients with cystic fibrosis (SIFT-MS) and the measurement of total body water in patients with chronic kidney disease (FA-MS). The growing exploitation of SIFT-MS in other areas of research and commerce are briefly listed to show the wide utility of this unique UK-developed analytical method, and future prospects and developments are alluded to.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Analytical Sciences in the UK