Meet one of the greatest innovators in the history of mass spectrometry, hard at work.

Chemist Amy McKenna describes her path to science and to the MagLab

This week at the lab, Patricia Medeiros is fishing for answers using one of the lab’s ion cyclotron resonance (ICR) magnets.

Medeiros (pictured above, standing at right, with her grad students), an assistant professor of marine organic geochemistry at the University of Georgia (UGA), arrived Monday morning with one colleague, two graduate students, dozens of water samples from estuaries around Georgia’s Sapelo Island, and lots of questions. The team will spend the week analyzing the molecular composition of the dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the water, using the ICR Facility’s 9.4 tesla passively shielded magnet.

In collaboration with UGA microbiologist Mary Ann Moran, Medeiros is studying what different communities of bacteria are doing with this DOM. They are particularly interested in how bacteria chemically transform carbon from the ocean, a key step in the marine carbon cycle that is still not well understood.

That knowledge could help us understand and better prepare for future changes in the climate, said Medeiros. "We don’t know too much about how microbes interact with DOM. We do know that DOM plays an important role in the global carbon cycle, however."

By Kristen Coyne.

Pyrolysis of solid biomass, in this case pine pellets and peanut hulls, generates a hydrocarbon-rich liquid product (bio-oil) consisting of oily and aqueous phases. Here, each phase is characterized by negative-ion electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (ESI FT-ICR MS) to yield unique chemical formulas for thousands of compounds.

Renowned chemist Sir Harold Kroto, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry and MagLab user, died April 30, 2016. He was 76.

Harry KrotoHarry Kroto.

Kroto, whose 1996 Nobel Prize recognized his key role in the discovery of fullerenes, spent the last decade of his eminent career at Florida State University, where access to the MagLab was a big draw.

During those years in Tallahassee, Kroto was principal investigator on half a dozen experiments in the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facility. Collaborations with the MagLab’s Alan Marshall, Naresh Dalal, Paul Dunk and others yielded numerous publications on fullerenes, metal organic framework systems and other topics.

In a 2014 interview done for FSU’s Across the Spectrum magazine, Kroto cited his work at the MagLab and FSU as “some of the best work I’ve done.”

“Very beautiful,” said Kroto, “well up there intellectually with my previous work, so I am very happy with that.”

Kroto also devoted much of his life to educating and inspiring students and lay people across the globe about science.

Using a novel combination of techniques, scientists researching the COPII protein created a pseudo-atomic model of the COPII cage, gaining a better understanding of how its 96 subunits fit together.

Atmospheric pressure photoionization (APPI) Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) provides ultrahigh resolving power (m/Δm50% > 1,000,000 at m/z 500) and sub-ppm mass error (50 ppb) required to identify nickel porphyrin isotopes for unambiguous elemental composition assignment. We also report the first simultaneous identification and categorization of both vanadyl and nickel porphyrins in the same sample, without prior sample fractionation.

An understanding of the formation mechanism of endohedral metallofullerenes may pave the way towards targeted synthesis of these nanomaterials, which are attractive for use in biomedicine and renewable energy. Their bottom-up synthesis is investigated and charge transfer from the encapsulated metal to carbon cage is determined to play a key role in formation.

The MagLab and the Bruker Corporation have installed the world’s first 21 tesla magnet for Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry.

We describe a method for de novo protein sequencing with high accuracy and multiple levels of confidence. Samples are digested separately by two proteases, Lys-C and Lys-N. The resulting complementary pairs of ions combine to improve confidence in the identification.

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