Detection of diethyl phthalate in perfumes by extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Konstantin Chingin, Huanwen Chen, Gerardo Gamez, Liang Zhu, Renato Zenobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Recent findings suggest that long-term exposure to diethyl phthalate (DEP), one of the widely used phthalate esters, can lead to serious health problems. Most perfumes contain non-negligible amounts of DEP. Rapid and sensitive detection of DEP in perfumes is thus of increasing importance. A novel procedure based on extractive electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (EESI-MS) has been developed for fast detection and identification of DEP in perfumes without the need for any sample pretreatment. The limit of determination for DEP in perfume was less than 100 ppb using tandem mass spectrometry on a commercial quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The dynamic range of this method was about 4 orders of magnitude. A single sample analysis was completed within a few seconds, providing a rapid way to obtain semiquantitative information on the DEP content in perfumes. This study shows that both volatile and nonvolatile analytes (e.g., amino acids) in liquids can be directly sampled by neutral desorption, providing a convenient way for high-throughput screening of target compounds using EESI-MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


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