Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 25, pp 6603–6614 | Cite as

Rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry coupled with an electrosurgical knife for the rapid identification of Mediterranean Sea species

  • Francesca Rigano
  • Domenica Mangraviti
  • Sara Stead
  • Nathaniel Martin
  • Davy Petit
  • Paola Dugo
  • Luigi MondelloEmail author
Research Paper
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The topic of food analysis and safety has attracted increasing interest in recent decades owing to recent scandals concerning fraudulent activities (mislabeling, sophistication, adulteration, etc.) that can undermine human health. Among them, seafood fraud has probably the strongest relationship with food safety, an activity that goes beyond economic interests. This article explores the capabilities of an innovative instrumental setup, called the “iKnife,” as a powerful tool in this specific research area, where until now genomics and proteomics have been the workhorses in analytical approaches. iKnife, which means “intelligent knife,” is the name of a recent technology based on rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry (REIMS). REIMS is an emerging technique able to characterize different samples rapidly, affording a comprehensive profile usable as a fingerprint, without the need for preliminary extraction or cleanup procedures. In detail, a REIMS source is coupled to a high-resolution tandem mass spectrometer; such coupling allows one to maximize the amount of information (discriminant features) collected for a single analysis, as well as to focus on target analytes to achieve enhanced sensitivity and selectivity. A database was created from 18 marine species typical of the Mediterranean Sea, all caught in the very small area of the Strait of Messina, and reliable identification was achieved for each species with confidence higher than 99%. One big model and three submodels were built by principal component analysis and linear discriminant analysis for unambiguous key variable identification within each class (e.g., Cephalopoda), order (e.g., Perciformes), or family (e.g., Carangidae).

Graphical abstract


Intelligent knife (iKnife) Rapid evaporative ionization mass spectrometry Fish species identification Seafood fraud Food safety Mediterranean Sea 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Statement of human and animal rights

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures were in accordance with guidelines for the protection of animal welfare, in compliance with Directive 2010/63/EU, which updates and replaces the 1986 Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes.

Supplementary material

216_2019_2000_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (10.1 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 10 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Rigano
    • 1
  • Domenica Mangraviti
    • 2
  • Sara Stead
    • 3
  • Nathaniel Martin
    • 3
  • Davy Petit
    • 4
  • Paola Dugo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Luigi Mondello
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Chromaleont s.r.l., c/o Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  3. 3.Waters CorporationWilmslowUK
  4. 4.Waters Corporation, Waters S.A.S.Saint-QuentinFrance
  5. 5.Unit of Food Science and Nutrition, Department of MedicineUniversity Campus Bio-Medico of RomeRomeItaly
  6. 6.BeSep s.r.l., c/o Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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