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Analyzing Trace-Level Impurities of a Pharmaceutical Intermediate Using ,,, an LCQ Deca Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer and the Mass Frontier ,,, Software Package

onding to the pharmaceutical intermediate, was observed at a retention time of 8.5 minutes. Upon detailed inspection, background ions (not sample-related) were discovered in the mass spectrum at m/z 391, 392 and 393. When the contributions from these background ions and the pharmaceutical intermediate were subtracted from the total ion signal, three impurities at m/z 538, 488 and 556 were revealed in the resulting chromatogram, displayed in Figure 2b. Based on mass differences and isotope patterns; the three impurities were proposed to result from the addition of ClOH, H2, and Cl2 to the pharmaceutical intermediates double bond (displayed in red in Figure 1). Figure 3 shows the proposed chemical structures of the three impurities. Figure 4 shows a comparison of the experimental isotopic patterns for the three impurities with the isotopic patterns corresponding to the proposed elemental compositions. The extracted ion chromatograms of the pharmaceutical intermediate and its three impurities are presented together in Figure 5. The signal intensity of the two chlorinated impurities was less than 0.1% of that of the unmodified intermediate.


Figure 1: Partial structural diagram of a key pharmaceutical intermediate.



Figure 2:
(a) The total ion current (TIC) of the full-scan MS analysis showing elution of the drug intermediate (m/z 486) at a retention time of 8.5 minutes.
(b) TIC with contributions from the drug intermediate (m/z 486 and 487) and background ions (m/z 391, 392, and 393) subtracted out, revealing three low-level impurities at m/z 538, 488 and 556.




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