Comparison of the characteristic mass fragmentations of phenethylamines and tryptamines by electron ionization gas chromatography mass spectrometry, electrospray and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry

Bo Hong Chen, Ju Tsung Liu, Hung Ming Chen, Wen Xiong Chen, Cheng Huang Lin

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Characteristic mass fragmentation of 20 phenethylamine/tryptamine standards were investigated and compared by means of matrix assisted laser desorption/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI/TOFM), gas chromatography-electron ionization-mass spectrometry (GC-EI/MS) and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization/mass spectrometry (LC-ESI/MS) methods. As a result, three characteristic peaks ([M]+ and fragments from the Cβ-Cα bond breakage) were found to be unique and contained information useful in identifying 2C series compounds based on the GC-EI/MS method. We found that the protonated molecular ion ([M+H]+) and two types of fragments produced from the α-cleavage and β-cleavage processes were useful mass spectral information in the rapid screening and confirmation of phenethylamine and tryptamine derivatives when ESI/MS and MALDI/TOFMS methods were applied. This assay was successfully used to determine samples that contain illicit drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1022
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 22



  • GC-EI/MS
  • Phenethylamine
  • Tryptamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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