Potential of dynamically harmonized Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance cell for high-throughput metabolomics fingerprinting: control of data quality.
Due to the presence of pollutants in the environment and food, the assessment of human exposure is required. This necessitates high-throughput approaches enabling large-scale analysis and, as a consequence, the use of high-performance analytical instruments to obtain highly informative metabolomic profiles. In this study, direct introduction mass spectrometry (DIMS) was performed using a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) instrument equipped with a dynamically harmonized cell. Data quality was evaluated based on mass resolving power (RP), mass measurement accuracy, and ion intensity drifts from the repeated injections of quality control sample (QC) along the analytical process. The large DIMS data size entails the use of bioinformatic tools for the automatic selection of common ions found in all QC injections and for robustness assessment and correction of eventual technical drifts. RP values greater than 10(6) and mass measurement accuracy of lower than 1 ppm were obtained using broadband mode resulting in the detection of isotopic fine structure. Hence, a very accurate relative isotopic mass defect (RDeltam) value was calculated. This reduces significantly the number of elemental composition (EC) candidates and greatly improves compound annotation. A very satisfactory estimate of repeatability of both peak intensity and mass measurement was demonstrated. Although, a non negligible ion intensity drift was observed for negative ion mode data, a normalization procedure was easily applied to correct this phenomenon. This study illustrates the performance and robustness of the dynamically harmonized FT-ICR cell to perform large-scale high-throughput metabolomic analyses in routine conditions. Graphical abstract Analytical performance of FT-ICR instrument equipped with a dynamically harmonized cell.