LC-MS is used for the identification of dyes extracted from textile fibers and the utility of the method for forensic trace analysis is demonstrated. The technique is shown to provide a high degree of chemical structural information, making dye identification highly specific in comparison to optical and/or chromatographic methods of dye analysis. A UV-visible absorbance detector, placed in series before the MS detector, facilitates monitoring the elution of dyes in the presence of other non-dye components extracted from colored textile fibers. In this way, dye identification becomes practical, even when a dye standard is not available for comparison. A set of 22 reference dyestuffs and 10 dyes extracted from textile fibers were analyzed to demonstrate the utility of the method. Six of the extracted dyes corresponded to dyes also contained in the set of 22 reference dyestuffs. Reference dyestuffs were not available for four of the extracted dyes. Triethylamine (TEA) was shown to increase the electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) response of dyes containing multiple sulfonated groups.
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