In the moment, we host four cutting-edge MS systems of different types to address each analyse question by the most suitable approach.
Each of the MS systems is coupled to a state-of-the-art HPLC (Agilent Infinity II, Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex Binary), and equipped with an additional UV-detector. In addition to the existing coupling techniques, we established an ion-chromatography system (Integrion HPIC, Thermo Scientific), which can be connected to either of the MS instruments.
- Agilent 6470A QQQ MS
- Agilent 6495B QQQ MS
- Agilent 6550B QTOF MS
- 3 X Agilent Infinity II HPLC
- Thermo Scinetific QExactiv ID-X Orbitrap MS
- Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex Binary HPLC
- Thermo Scintific Integrion HPIC
- Mmmolly – Agilent 6470B Triple Quadrupole MS
Mmmolly is one of our two QQQ MS instruments. Mmmolly (as most QQQ MS Instruments) has a rather low mass resolution (which means that it is not easy for her to differentiate between molecules that are very similar in mass). To nevertheless achieve a high confidence in the identification of molecules, the most common method used with QQQ MS instruments is a method called multi reaction monitoring (MRM). In a MRM method, analyts are not only Identified by their initial mass. Instead, they are being fragmented in a controlled way and the mass and ration of the resulting fragments (in combination with retention time and internal standards) is used for identification and quantification. QQQ MS instruments like Mmmolly are particularly well suited for MRM method, as one can use the first and the third Quadrupole (Q1 and Q3) as mass filters (for precursor and product ion), while the middle Quadrupole serves as collision cell. Thus, one can achieve a high level of confidence, high sensitivity, robustness, and large linear range.
We use Mmmolly for all kinds of absolute and relative quantifications.
- EMMMA - Agilent 6495C Triple Quadrupole MS
EMMMa is MMMollys bigger sister and a QQQ MS as well. The two Instruments are almost identical, yet EMMMA Is a little bit (10 X) more sensitive, as her Ion Optics (the part of the Instrument that guides the Ions through the MS) are different. EMMMA possessed two so called Ion funnels, which focus the cloud of Ions that is generated by the Ion source instead of cutting of the edged.
As MMMOLLY, EMMMA is almost exclusive used for quantitative targeted analysis in MRM mode. All projects that aim for the analysis of low abundant targets are processed on EMMMA.
- HEIDI – Agilent 6550 Quadrupole Time-Of-Flight MS
As can be easily seen, HEIDI is different from the other MS instruments in the facility. Her Flight Tube stands more than two meters high and looks like a little chimney. HEIDI needs this tube because she determined the mass-to-charge ratio of the molecules we measure based on the way they fly. To measure, HEIDI catapults the ionized analytical targets up her flight tube. Then she waits for them to come down again and measures the time they need to do that.
By doing so, she achieves a mass resolution of up to 40 000, which is (in many cases) good enough to identify molecules solely based on their mass. We use this direct approach mainly in Isotopic labelling assisted metabolomics.
If the mass resolution is not enough for the identification of an analytical target, HEIDI is also perfectly equipped for MRM methods. Her front part is almost identical with EMMMA, the only difference is that HEIDI has a Flight tube Instead of a third Quadruple.
- Orbi-Wan – Thermo Scinetific Orbitrap IDX
Orbi-Wan was the latest addition to our happy metabolomics family. He is a Tribride, which means that he combines features of three different types of MS instruments, namely a Quadrupole, a linear ion trap, and an orbitrap.
ORBI-WAN is a real high-resolution MS. After tuning and employing an internal mass reference, he achieves a mass resolution of 500 000, which is more than enough for most of our applications.
Of course, the high resolution makes ORBI-WAN the perfect instrument for structural elucidation and untargeted metabolomics (and this is, what we use him for). In addition, the combination of different tools for ion trapping and fragmentation makes it possible to perform multiple fragmentation (MSn), and to combine different fragmentation methods to optimize the data output.