We report a method of small molecule analysis using a converted graphene-like monolayer (CGM) plate and laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LDI-TOF MS) without organic matrices. The CGM plate was prepared from self-assembled monolayers of biphenyl-4-thiol on gold using electron beam irradiation followed by an annealing step. The above plate was utilized for the LDI-TOF MS analyses of various small molecules and their mixtures, e.g., amino acids, sugars, fatty acids, oligoethylene glycols, and flavonoids. The CGM plate afforded high signal-to-noise ratios, good limits of detection (1 pmol to 10 fmol), and reusability for up to 30 cycles. As a practical application, the enzymatic activity of the cytochrome P450 2A6 (CYP2A6) enzyme in human liver microsomes was assessed in the 7-hydroxylation of coumarin using the CGM plate without other purification steps. We believe that the prepared CGM plate can be practically used with the advantages of simplicity, sensitivity, and reusability for the matrix-free analysis of small biomolecules.
- Converted graphene-like monolayer
- Laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry
- Self-assembled monolayers
- Small biomolecules