Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization Time-Of-Flight/Time-Of-Flight Tandem Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS/MS) was employed to analyze five poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu) oligomers and to investigate their fragmentation pathways.
MALDI-TOF MS/MS analysis was performed on cyclic and linear oligomers terminated by dicarboxyl groups, carboxyl and hydroxyl groups, hydroxyl and olefin groups, and dihydroxyl groups. The sodium adduct ions of these oligomers were selected as precursor ions. Experiments were carried out with and without argon as the collision gas.
A β-hydrogen transfer rearrangement, leading to the selective cleavage of the -O-CH2- bonds, and cleavage of the -CH2-CO- bonds, the ester bonds, and the -CH2-CH2- bonds in the diol moiety were observed. Two fragmentation mechanisms, correlated to the end-group structure of the precursor ions, were also proposed. The detection of cyclic anhydrides was related to the presence of succinic acid terminal groups. The formation of microcyclic oligoesters probably occurred via an intramolecular transesterification mechanism involving a hydroxyl end group.
A β-hydrogen transfer rearrangement has been proposed as the main fragmentation mechanism occurring in PBSu without using the collision gas. Cleavages of almost all types of bonds take place in the MALDI CID experiments. According to the structures of the most abundant product ions, six fragmentation pathways have been proposed when using argon as the collision gas. Two fragmentation mechanisms were suggested as being correlated to the end-group structure of the precursor ions.