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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 282574, 40 pages
Review Article

Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry: A Technique to Access the Information beyond the Molecular Weight of the Analyte

Department of Chemical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400005, India

Received 9 August 2011; Revised 23 October 2011; Accepted 9 November 2011

Academic Editor: Troy D. Wood

Copyright © 2012 Shibdas Banerjee and Shyamalava Mazumdar. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Electrospray Ionization (ESI) is a soft ionization technique extensively used for production of gas phase ions (without fragmentation) of thermally labile large supramolecules. In the present review we have described the development of Electrospray Ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) during the last 25 years in the study of various properties of different types of biological molecules. There have been extensive studies on the mechanism of formation of charged gaseous species by the ESI. Several groups have investigated the origin and implications of the multiple charge states of proteins observed in the ESI-mass spectra of the proteins. The charged analytes produced by ESI can be fragmented by activating them in the gas-phase, and thus tandem mass spectrometry has been developed, which provides very important insights on the structural properties of the molecule. The review will highlight recent developments and emerging directions in this fascinating area of research.