Mass Spectral Filtering by Mass-Remainder Analysis (MARA) at High Resolution and Its Application to Metabolite Profiling of Flavonoids

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 16;22(2):864. doi: 10.3390/ijms22020864.


Flavonoids represent an important class of secondary metabolites because of their potential health benefits and functions in plants. We propose a novel method for the comprehensive flavonoid filtering and screening based on direct infusion mass spectrometry (DIMS) analysis. The recently invented data mining procedure, the multi-step mass-remainder analysis (M-MARA) technique is applied for the effective mass spectral filtering of the peak rich spectra of natural herb extracts. In addition, our flavonoid-filtering algorithm facilitates the determination of the elemental composition. M-MARA flavonoid-filtering uses simple mathematical and logical operations and thus, it can easily be implemented in a regular spreadsheet software. A huge benefit of our method is the high speed and the low demand for computing power and memory that enables the real time application even for tandem mass spectrometric analysis. Our novel method was applied for the electrospray ionization (ESI) DIMS spectra of various herb extract, and the filtered mass spectral data were subjected to chemometrics analysis using principal component analysis (PCA).

Keywords: direct infusion mass spectrometry; flavonoid; mass spectral filtering; mass-remainder analysis; metabolomics; principal component analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Flavonoids / chemistry*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Metabolomics / standards
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / standards


  • Flavonoids
  • Plant Extracts