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 http://code.google.com/p/metextract/. Precompiled executables are available for Windows operating systems.
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.