Journal Published Online: 01 July 1999
Volume 44, Issue 4

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.

Author Information

Hollenbeck, TPE
The Scripps Research Institute, Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences, La Jolla, CA
Siuzdak, G
The Scripps Research Institute, Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences, La Jolla, CA
Blackledge, RD
United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Regional Forensic Laboratory, San Diego, California
Pages: 6
Price: $25.00
Reprints and Permissions
Reprints and copyright permissions can be requested through the
Copyright Clearance Center
Stock #: JFS14553J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14553J