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Electrospray ionization collision-induced dissociation mass spectrometry: a tool to characterize synthetic polyaminocarboxylate ferric chelates used as fertilizers

AuthorsOrera Utrilla, Irene ; Orduna, Jesús ; Abadía Bayona, Javier ; Álvarez-Fernández, Ana
Issue Date2010
CitationRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 24(1): 109-119 (2010)
AbstractFertilizers based on synthetic polyaminocarboxylate ferric chelates have been known since the 1950s to be successful in supplying Fe to plants. In commercial Fe(III)-chelate fertilizers, a significant part of the water-soluble Fe-fraction consists of still uncharacterized Fe byproducts, whose agronomical value is unknown. Although collision-induced dissociation (CID) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/ MS) is a valuable tool for the identification of such compounds, no fragmentation data have been reported for most Fe(III)-chelate fertilizers. The aim of this study was to characterize the CID-MS2 fragmentation patterns of the major synthetic Fe(III)-chelates used as Fe-fertilizers, and subsequently use this technique for the characterization of commercial fertilizers. Quadrupole-time-of-flight (QTOF) and spherical ion trap mass analyzers equipped with an electrospray ionization (ESI) source were used. ESI-CID-MS2 spectra obtained were richer when using the QTOF device. Specific differences were found among Fe(III)-chelate fragmentation patterns, even in the case of positional isomers. The analysis of a commercial Fe(III)-chelate fertilizer by high-performance liquid chroma-tography (HPLC) coupled to ESI-MS(QTOF) revealed two previously unknown, Fe-containing compounds, that were successfully identified by a comprehensive comparison of the ESI-CID-MS2(QTOF) spectra with those of pure chelates. This shows that HPLC/ESI-CID-MS2(QTOF), along with the Fe(III)-chelate fragmentation patterns, could be a highly valuable tool to directly characterize the water-soluble Fe fraction in Fe(III)-chelate fertilizers. This could be of great importance in issues related to crop Fe-fertilization, both from an agricultural and an environmental point of view.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1002/rcm.4361
issn: 0951-4198
e-issn: 1097-0231
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