Volume 44, Issue 4 (July 1999)
Electrospray and MALDI Mass Spectrometry in the Identification of Spermicides in Criminal Investigations
Electrospray ionization (ESI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry have been used to examine evidence in a sexual assault investigation. Because condoms are being used increasingly by sexual assailants and some condom brands include the spermicide nonoxynol-9 (nonylphenoxy polyethoxyethanol) in the lubricant formulation, the recovery, and identification of nonoxynol-9 from evidence items may assist in proving corpus delicti. A method was developed for the recovery of nonoxynol-9 from internal vaginal swabs and for its identification by reverse phase liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC ESI-MS), nanoelectrospray ionization (nanoESI) mass spectrometry, and high resolution MALDI Fourier transform mass spectrometry (MALDI-FTMS). The method was tested on extracts from precoitus, immediate postcoitus, and four-hours postcoitus vaginal swabs provided by a volunteer whose partner does not normally use condoms, but for this trial used a condom having a water-soluble gel-type lubricant that includes 5% nonoxynol-9 in its formulation. Subsequently, LC ESI-MS was used to identify traces of nonoxynol-9 from the internal vaginal swab of a victim of a sexual assault.