Rationale Energy pooling has been suggested as the key process for generating the primary ions during ultraviolet matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (UV-MALDI). In previous studies, decreases in fluorescence quantum yields as laser fluence increased for 2-aminobenzoic acid, 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (2,5-DHB), and 3-hydroxypicolinic acid were used as evidence of energy pooling. This work extends the research to other matrices and addresses whether energy pooling is a universal property in UV-MALDI. Methods Energy pooling was investigated in a time-resolved fluorescence experiment by using a short laser pulse (355 nm, 20 ps pulse width) for excitation and a streak camera (1 ps time resolution) for fluorescence detection. Results The excited-state lifetime of 2,5-DHB decreased with increases in laser fluence. This suggests that a reaction occurs between two excited molecules, and that energy pooling may be one of the possible reactions. However, the excited-state lifetime of 2,4,6-trihydroxyacetophenone (THAP) did not change with increases in laser fluence. The upper limit of the energy pooling rate constant for THAP is estimated to be approximately 100-500 times smaller than that of 2,5-DHB. Conclusions The small energy pooling rate constant for THAP indicates that the potential contribution of the energy pooling mechanism to the generation of THAP matrix primary ions should be reconsidered.