The new UHPLC will allow better separation of components in much shorter time compared to our old HPLC and the triple quadrupole MS will allow quantification of substances present in very small amounts (picogram-femtogram range). NIOM is very excited to have this instrument in-house and looks forward to exploring its use in a range of applications.
UHPLC-MS is used in a range of scientific disciplines, such as the pharmaceutical industry, forensics, food and materials science, to detect and quantify substances in solution. This combined analytical technique works by separating the components, e.g. according to polarity, in the liquid phase (UHPLC) before they are injected in the mass spectrometer (MS). In the MS the components of interest are ionized to charged particles and are separated in the gas phase according to their mass-to-charge (m/z) ratio.
Assessing the extent of leaching from different materials is an essential part of NIOM’s activities and UHPLC-MS is therefore an important tool for improving patient safety.
The curing of resin-based dental materials is never complete. These complex materials may leach unreacted components, as well as additives, degradation products and contaminants into the oral environment. The concentrations of the leaching components are often very low, but the high sensitivity of the new MS will allow detection and quantification of the leaching components, eg. methacrylate monomers and bisphenol A (Figure 2), at very low concen- trations. Assessing the extent of leaching from different materials is an essential part of NIOM’s activities and UHPLC-MS is therefore an important tool for improving patient safety.
The methacrylate-based monomers in dental materials have been shown to affect cells in vitro by reducing cell growth. However, the mechanisms through which this process occurs are not fully understood. Research projects at NIOM are currently focused on elucidating these mechanisms through the use of mass spectrometry to study interactions between the dental monomers and proteins in cells. In the long run, the new UHPLC-MS instrument will thus provide information that can be used to improve the biocompatibility of resin-based dental materials.