• Is mass spectrometry the best way to analyse small molecules?
    The Thermo Scientific Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid mass spectrometer.

Mass Spectrometry & Spectroscopy

Is mass spectrometry the best way to analyse small molecules?

Jun 28 2021

Why is small molecule analysis important?

Small molecule analysis in biology and pharmacology has become increasingly important for drug development and biopharmaceutical research. Researchers in academia, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries need tools to reveal complex chemical structures with confidence, ease and experimental versatility.

Are any mass spectrometers designed specifically for small molecule analysis?

The Thermo Scientific Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid mass spectrometer has been designed specifically for small-molecule structural elucidation of metabolites and unknown compounds. The wide range of applications include metabolomics and lipidomics research, leachable/extractable impurities identification and forensic toxicology. The MS system provides a fit-for-purpose, new AcquireX workflow enabled by the trusted Thermo Scientific Tribrid architecture to acquire high-quality data. Performance is enhanced by a new Met-IQ workflow that leverages real-time library search with on-the-fly intelligent MS² spectral matching for decision-based triggering of MSn scan events, providing higher confidence for chemical annotation.

"Along with the enhanced intelligence-based data acquisition, the Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid MS also uses the new Auto-Ready ion source for automated, remote, and walkaway-calibration enabling the researcher to spend more time obtaining results and less time on instrument setup. Traditionally, ultra-high resolution and accurate mass calibration has been challenging and time consuming. The new system offers researchers higher sample throughput with increased ease-of-use," said Iain Mylchreest, Vice President, Research and Development, Analytical Instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid MS utilises enhanced Thermo Scientific AcquireX workflows for increased sample throughput and ease-of-use. The MS system provides improved fragmentation for small-molecule analysis with options to add to the platform’s experimental flexibility. An ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) option provides insights on the lipid double-bond localisation, site specific glucuronidation, and complementary fragmentation for structure assignment while the 1,000,000 (1M) resolution option improves confidence for unknown analysis and fine isotope detection.

Joshua Coon, Professor, Biomolecular Chemistry and Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: "As a research laboratory, we are always looking to obtain innovative technology to advance our biomedical discoveries. The new Orbitrap IQ-X Tribrid MS provides a user-friendly workflow and allows us to carry out comprehensive analysis of small molecules, such as metabolites and lipids, enhancing our efforts to globally monitor these biomolecules in biological systems."

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