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Anal Chem. 2009 Aug 15;81(16):6656-67. doi: 10.1021/ac901536h.

Integrated, nontargeted ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry platform for the identification and relative quantification of the small-molecule complement of biological systems.

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Metabolon, Incorporated, 800 Capitola Drive, Suite 1, Durham, North Carolina 27713, USA.


To address the challenges associated with metabolomics analyses, such as identification of chemical structures and elimination of experimental artifacts, we developed a platform that integrated the chemical analysis, including identification and relative quantification, data reduction, and quality assurance components of the process. The analytical platform incorporated two separate ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC/MS/MS(2)) injections; one injection was optimized for basic species, and the other was optimized for acidic species. This approach permitted the detection of 339 small molecules, a total instrument analysis time of 24 min (two injections at 12 min each), while maintaining a median process variability of 9%. The resulting MS/MS(2) data were searched against an in-house generated authentic standard library that included retention time, molecular weight (m/z), preferred adducts, and in-source fragments as well as their associated MS/MS spectra for all molecules in the library. The library allowed the rapid and high-confidence identification of the experimentally detected molecules based on a multiparameter match without need for additional analyses. This integrated platform enabled the high-throughput collection and relative quantitative analysis of analytical data and identified a large number and broad spectrum of molecules with a high degree of confidence.

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