A comparative study of microporous polyolefin silica-based paper and cellulose paper substrates utilizing paper spray-mass spectrometry in drug analysis
This comparative study proposes an efficient technique by employing a synthetic substrate, which is commercially available, for direct, sensitive, efficient and fast analysis in Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry (PS-MS). The Teslin® substrate is a well-known synthetic paper used in the printing industry, and it is made with a single-layered, microporous polyolefin–silica matrix. Currently, filter paper is one of the most commonly used natural cellulose fiber-based substrates in PS-MS. In this study, the analytical performance of Teslin® vs. filter paper was determined by measuring different physical characteristics such as porosity, solvent elution efficiency and sensitivity of both substrates. The key result of electrostatic-spray ionization in the hydrophobic Teslin® substrate was more efficient detection and direct analysis of a smaller amount of drug samples (1 μL) with an improved signal sensitivity of 26.94-fold in comparison to filter paper. It has been demonstrated that the efficiency of reproducibility of the analyte, signal-noise ratio, and constant longer active signal (>2 min) were notably improved with the hydrophobicity of Teslin® paper by eliminating chromatographic effects. The limit of detection for drug analysis was reported to be in the lower μg mL−1 range.