Direct pyrolysis (Py) field ionization (FI) mass spectrometry (MS) is employed at both high and low resolution for the characterization of tobacco samples. Reproducible and characteristic fingerprinting of tobacco and condensates is achieved within 30 min. Further investigation and comparison of the FI signals of the pyrolysates obtained are carried out by Curie-point Py-gas chromatography (GC)-MS using a combined electron impact (EI)/FI ion source and a thick-film (high-capacity) capillary column. Direct Py-GC-FI-MS is demonstrated for the first time and is shown to be particularly powerful owing to the clean molecular ion spectra and low background recorded. Many peaks were located having the same m/z values as in the direct FI-MS case and their full EI spectra could be easily found by their retention times relative to nicotine, the major component. Py-GC-MS can be carried out within 20 min. The potential of the new combined methodology for the general, time-saving characterization of large numbers of tobacco is illustrated. © 1985.
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