May. 29, 2017

Read & Win: Handbook of GC-MS

  • Handbook of GC-MSHandbook of GC-MS
  • Handbook of GC-MS
  • Hans-Joachim Huebschmann graduated as Certified Food Chemist from the Technical University in Berlin, Germany

Handbook of GC-MS

Gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is still the “gold standard” for chemical identification of volatile organic compounds in mixtures. It offers consistency and reproducibility with a wide range of established methodology ranging from clinical and pharmaceutical analysis, to environmental and forensic applications. This book represents a comprehensive reference on GC-MS, providing a detailed overview from fundamentals to applications with a extensive variety of practical examples. Completed is the book with an complete glossary of terms and substances to direct the reader to the relevant application.

Interview with the author:

G.I.T.: Is there a trend, like in the other analytical fields, towards smaller and more robust GC-MS instruments?

Hübschmann: The trend towards smaller devices with significantly less space is unmistakable, especially if it’s triple quadrupole systems. But I would not speak of ‘miniaturization’ here. The performance of GC-MS devices is significantly dependent on the design of the analyser and the vacuum system. Both determine performance and size. Only ion-mobility spectrometers, as we know it from aroma profiling or more mobile at-site instrumentation as the control of explosives at airports, achieve a certain customized miniaturization with the constraint on a special range of often also mobile applications.


G.I.T.: What are the current developments in the field, which kind of applications will we see in the next five years?

Hübschmann: Mass spectrometry has become an indispensable analysis technology for many areas of application, not only for the detection of liquid or gas chromatography. The direct measurement of the desired analytes in contrast to an effect-related detection (such as for example the UV absorption) has contributed significantly. All areas of the control of legally regulated maximum limits will benefit from further developments in mass spectrometry.  Target compound analysis which is the current domain of triple quadrupole systems with a high but limited number of analytes will be replaced increasingly by a comprehensive general-unknown-approach, supported by  the strong trend for accurate mass measurements.

The comprehensive detection of all eluted compounds is performed by full-scan measurements with accurate mass using very high mass resolution. In addition this enables retrospective analyses of past measurements according to current knowledge.

All areas concerned with the fulfilment of legal requirements, and not only this, will benefit. These can be in pharmaceutical as well as toxicology or forensic science, but as well the control of air, water, foodstuffs, control articles of daily use, or even construction materials. A very popular example is the doping control.


G.I.T.: How important are spectral databases, especially when it comes to “omics” approaches?

Hübschmann: In general mass spectra databases support the identification of unknown compounds, both the known unknowns as well as previously unknown components. Biomarker research in clinical or plant breeding benefit highly from the automated deconvolution and identification of eluting compounds to finally produce a heat map of indicative compounds. In GC-MS typically full scan analysis with electron ionization (EI) is applied using large spectra libraries of EI mass spectra, also comprising derivatized compounds.

In LC-MS the situation is different. The prevailing electrospray (ESI) compound ionization delivers mainly (quasi)-molecular ions. First by collision induced fragmentation (CID) in e.g. a triple quadrupole instrument fragmentation spectra are generated for library comparison. The built of such LC-MSMS libraries are current activities facilitating “omics”research for underivatized bioactive compounds.


G.I.T.: What is your main focus in research, what is your main scientific interest?

Hübschmann: Mass spectrometry has become a commodity in chemical analysis, today most often applied as a standard universal detector, rather than a tool for basic mass spectroscopic research. The focus of GC-MS and LC-MS method development shifts today to suitable sample preparation methods compatible for online chromatographic analysis. Standard methods (EPA, ISO, EN, AOAC, AOCS, …) have been developed in all areas of GC-MS and LC-MS applications. Current activities focus on the adaptation of established manual methods for online analysis. The online integration of standard sample preparation methods like solid phase extraction, dynamic enrichment techniques, derivatization, calibration dilution, just to mention a few, delivers constant reliable analytical performance, is well comparable and traceable, and provides automation for routine as a very welcome side effect.

As a dedicated food chemist, it is basically very diversified with his scientific interests. Essentially, this concerns naturally all areas with which we come in contact, not just food and a healthy diet in the strict sense, but also the indirect impact of materials or contaminants on our health and well-being. Intersections or the origin control, obtaining commercial advantages at the expense of the consumer are another aspect. This very diverse analytical tasks, often stem trace analysis based, that require new approaches for a successful implementation.


G.I.T.: What was the reason to write the book?

Hübschmann: The “Handbook of GC-MS” originated as a compendium of documents to various training courses for the instrumental sample preparation for gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, and the qualitative and quantitative interpretation of the results. Recent application examples were always part of implementation in the laboratory. The Handbook today is mostly used for GC-MS training courses for fundamentals in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Beyond that it is a valuable compendium of the most used analytical GC-MS methods for direct workflow implementation in the readers laboratory,

With rapidly progressive technical development in GC and MS, as the ever-expanding applications, additions and updates have become necessary with the recent new 3rd edition to represent the current status of the GC-MS.


G.I.T.: What is the target audience for the book?

Hübschmann: The “Handbook of GC-MS” is a compendium of practice. It targets all employees in analytical laboratories, whether as practitioners in the laboratory, R&D or the laboratory management, as well as to students, or in training. Today many practical skills and fundamentals especially in gas chromatography are available only fragments, analytical education in chromatography hardly available. The “Handbook of GC-MS” provides an overview of the necessary fundamentals, practical hints to avoid mistakes, and the implementation of methods on the basis of comprehensible examples.


G.I.T.: What knowledge is prerequisite for the book?

Hübschmann: The “Handbook of GC-MS” offers a good overview of the essentials for novices and students in GC-MS, represented in easily discoverable and understandable specially set statements. A glossary explains in detail all relevant technical terms and abbreviations. The selected applications are selected for use in the laboratory. Experienced users will benefit from further details, many tables and specially selected literature references.


Hübschmann, H.-J.

Handbook of GC/MS
Fundamentals and Applications
3rd Edition
ISBN: 978-3-527-33474-2

Also available in electronic formats


Dr. Hans-Joachim Hübschmann

Hans-Joachim Huebschmann graduated as Certified Food Chemist from the Technical University in Berlin, Germany, working in the field of LC-MS residue analysis of anabolic agents and pesticides in food. He started his career in diagnostics and medical analytical instruments before working for a number of German companies in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. In 2002 he joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in Bremen, Germany, and held different international positions including Channel Manager for inorganic and isotope ratio mass spectrometry, Product Manager for high-resolution GC-MS and GC-MS/MS, setting up the well-known POPs Center of Excellence in Bremen, Germany. From his role as the Technology Manager for GC-MS in Austin, Texas, USA, he moved to Thermo Asia operations in Singapore as the Technology Director for GC & GC-MS. Hans very recently joined CTC Analytics , a privately owned Swiss company, supporting and developing front-end automation in gas and liquid chromatography for innovative sample preparation solutions.



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