Direct analysis in real time (DART®) is an ambient ionization technique undergoing rapid development. With minimal sample pretreatment, ionization of analyte molecules outside the mass spectrometry (MS) instrument in the ordinary atmosphere is feasible.
This ionization approach relies upon the fundamental principles of atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The current review highlights and critically assesses application of DART® (and some related desorption/ionization techniques) coupled to various types of MS analyzers for both target and non-target analysis of complex food matrices. Based on existing studies, DART®-MS is presented as a simple, high-throughput tool for:
(i) qualitative confirmation of chemical identity;
(ii) metabolomic fingerprinting/profiling; and,
(iii) quantification of low-molecular-weight food components, including some trace organic contaminants.
With regard to regulatory requirements, we mention practical aspects of DART®-MS use, as well as performance characteristics that can be attained.
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