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Table 1 Most common ionization techniques used for metabolomics applications

From: Metabolomics applied in bioenergy

Ionization techniques Options Advantages
Electron impact   Most popular for organic compounds with molecular mass <600 Da, best-characterized ionization method
Spray ionization Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) Applicable to relatively less polar and thermally stable compounds with an upper mass range of 1,500 Da, improved ionization efficiency and detection sensitivity
Electrospray ionization (ESI) Characterization of small and large biomolecules (charged, polar, or basic), ultrahigh detection sensitivity, can control presence of fragmentation
Laser desorption ionization Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) Applicable to large biomolecules with masses >200 kDa, sensitivity of several orders of magnitude