Application of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to characterize natural organic matter

Xiaoxiao Zhang, Jiarui Han, Xiangru Zhang, Jimin Shen, Zhonglin Chen, Wei Chu, Jing Kang, Shengxin Zhao, Yaoyu Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in the ultra-high-resolution mass spectroscopy lead to a deep insight into the molecular characterization of natural organic matter (NOM). Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) has been used as one of the most powerful tools to decipher NOM molecules. In FTICR-MS analysis, the matrix effects caused by the co-occurring inorganic substances in water samples greatly affect the ionization of NOM molecules. The inherent complexity of NOM may hinder its component classification and formula assignment. In this study, basic principles and recent advances for sample separation and purification approaches, ionization methods, and the evolutions in formula assignment and data exploitation of the FTICR-MS analysis were reviewed. The complementary characterization methods for FTICR-MS were also reviewed. By coupling with other developed/developing characterization methods, the statistical confidence for inferring the NOM compositions by FTICR-MS was greatly improved. Despite that the refined separation procedures and advanced data processing methods for NOM molecules have been exploited, the big challenge for interpreting NOM molecules is to give the basic structures of them. Online share of the FTICR-MS data, further optimizing the FTICR-MS technique, and coupling this technique with more characterization methods would be beneficial to improving the understanding of the composition and property of NOM.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127458
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Formula assignment
  • Ionization
  • Kendrick mass analysis
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Natural organic matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry to characterize natural organic matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this