fatty amine, chemical production, GC-MS, Thermo ScientificWe’ve talked a lot about pesticides and how to detect them in food. Actually, I’ve written about them so much my fingers are cramping up. This is an important topic because we do need to balance the need of producing significant amount of food at low prices and the need for the food to be safe. None of that changes. What if we start at the beginning? What if we take a look at how the materials that are used in the pesticide formulations are made, or really any large scale chemical production? There is a lot of chemical production that goes into that process. A lot of care is taken to make sure emulsifiers, solvents, and co-solvents are made with care (meaning they know exactly what they are making when it is scaled up to large volumes). The chemical industry has a lot of quality control checks in place. Because like food that is contaminated it is wasted, bulk chemicals that are made incorrectly are also wasted, sometimes with a significanteconomic loss. In this application we see the use of GC-MS/MS to check the quality of the production of fatty amines and n,n-dimethyldecanamide.

In order to monitor the production of fatty amines, GC-MS/MS analysis was performed to identify the constituents of the raw product. Structural elucidation is very important in synthetic work to confirm the identification of the final product and by-products. One of the amides generated is N,N-dimethyldecanamide. The identification of N,N-dimethyldecanamide was done using ITQ GC-MS ion trap. Positive Chemical Ionization (PCI) with ammonia was used to form the molecular ion, which was fragmented for structural elucidation by performing MS/MS. Mass Frontier software was then used to predict the theoretical fragments and fragmentation pathways of the detected product ions to confirm their identity.

The ITQ GC-MS/MS system provided the required structure elucidation and identification of N,N-dimethyldecanamide in a process stream. Chromatographic separation was optimized by incorporation of a cold injection on the PTV and a capillary column designed for the analysis of amines. Mass Frontier was able to fully annotate the product ion spectra generated by the ITQ MS with fragment ion structures and provide fragmentation pathways given the molecular structure. The generation of the molecular ion assisted in the identification of N,N-dimethyldecanamide. By choosing the proper reagent gas, PCI techniques can selectively protonate molecules and provide a high intensity of the quasimolecular ion for the MS/MS process. Ammonia PCI proved to be very effective in the yield of the M+1 ion due to its high proton affinity.

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Download application note here; Chemical Production QC