Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Andre R. Venter

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Barcelonaq

Third Advisor

Dr. Blair Szymczyna


Electrospray, ionization, mass spectrometry, ionic liquids, biodegradation products

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Ionic liquids (ILs) are organic salts with unique physico-chemical properties and are used as green alternatives to volatile organic solvents. ESI-MS is a sensitive technique to detect these stable, permanent ions. My research focused on (1) Identification of biodegradation products of ionic liquids and (2) Multiplexed tandem MS by modulation of ionization efficiency.

Studies, have demonstrated that ILs are toxic to the environment, which makes their biodegradability an important consideration. In this work, metabolites generated during the biodegradation of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride (BMIM), a degradation resistant and commonly used ionic liquid, are identified using high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS).

Multiplexed tandem MS is a method to increase sample throughput for identification of complex mixtures. However, previous multiplexed tandem MS methods mostly require expensive mass spectrometers. In this study, we demonstrate a novel method of multiplexing MS where correlation of the fragments to their respective precursors is achieved by modulating the ionization efficiencies of analytes by changing the solvent composition. This method has the potential to do powerful MS/MS experiments on inexpensive single stage mass analyzers.