MetExtract: a new software tool for the automated comprehensive extraction of metabolite-derived LC/MS signals in metabolomics research

Bioinformatics. 2012 Mar 1;28(5):736-8. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bts012. Epub 2012 Jan 11.


Motivation: Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) is a key technique in metabolomics. Since the efficient assignment of MS signals to true biological metabolites becomes feasible in combination with in vivo stable isotopic labelling, our aim was to provide a new software tool for this purpose.

Results: An algorithm and a program (MetExtract) have been developed to search for metabolites in in vivo labelled biological samples. The algorithm makes use of the chromatographic characteristics of the LC/MS data and detects MS peaks fulfilling the criteria of stable isotopic labelling. As a result of all calculations, the algorithm specifies a list of m/z values, the corresponding number of atoms of the labelling element (e.g. carbon) together with retention time and extracted adduct-, fragment- and polymer ions. Its function was evaluated using native (12)C- and uniformly (13)C-labelled standard substances.

Availability: MetExtract is available free of charge and warranty at Precompiled executables are available for Windows operating systems.

Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Carbon Radioisotopes / analysis
  • Chromatography, Liquid*
  • Fusarium / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry*
  • Metabolomics*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Software*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes