Chinese researchers have developed a rapid and simplified work flow analysis using ambient ionisation coupled to a miniature mass spectrometer. The sample treatment and chromatographic separation normally required for mass spectrometry analysis has been by-passed using capillary nano-electrospray ionisation, paper spray ionisation, or syringe spray ionisation depending on the sample. These are connected to a miniature ion trap mass spectrometer with a continuous atmospheric pressure interface and tandem mass spectrometry capability to undertake the analysis. The system was tested with various food adulterants, and was able to determine as little as 20 - 50 μg/kg of illegal dyes in chilli powder and hotpot seasoning. This developed system has promising potential for fast and in situ screening of food adulteration.
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