Isotope cluster-based compound matching in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for non-targeted metabolomics

Anal Chem. 2013 Apr 16;85(8):4030-7. doi: 10.1021/ac303774z. Epub 2013 Apr 5.


Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC/MS) has emerged as a powerful tool in metabolomics studies. A major bottleneck in current data analysis of GC/MS-based metabolomics studies is compound matching and identification, as current methods generate high rates of false positive and false-negative identifications. This is especially true for data sets containing a high amount of noise. In this work, a novel spectral similarity measure based on the specific fragmentation patterns of electron impact mass spectra is proposed. An important aspect of these algorithmic methods is the handling of noisy data. The performance of the proposed method compared to the dot product, the current gold standard, was evaluated on a complex biological data set. The analysis results showed significant improvements of the proposed method in compound matching and chromatogram alignment compared to the dot product.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Animals
  • Area Under Curve
  • Cell Line
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / standards*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / statistics & numerical data
  • Isotopes
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Metabolomics / standards*
  • Metabolomics / statistics & numerical data
  • Mice


  • Isotopes