Mass spectrometry (MS) is one of the leading analytical tools exploited by the metabolomics community. Despite technological advances, it remains impossible for a single piece of MS instrumentation to provide all of the information sought in global analyses. As such, all of the centers of excellence in metabolomics utilize pipelines that exploit multiple analytical platforms (e.g., LC-MS, GCEI-MS, GC-CI-MS). The proposed AB Sciex TripleTOFTM 5600 is a high resolution, exact mass MS/MS platform that is specifically designed to provide the resolving power sought by the metabolomics community. This instrument provides a mass resolution of up to 40,000 full width at half height (FWHH) in both positive and negative ion modes, exact mass (1 ppm RMS) with a dynamic range of up to five orders of magnitude, a rapid acquisition rate (20 Hz) that fully exploits the resolving power of UPLC, and absolute sensitivity more usually associated with triple quadrupole instruments operating in Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) mode. In short, this instrument offers speed, accuracy and versatility to explore complex samples from a large user group with diverse needs.

Project Report

A commonly used definition of metablomics is ‘the study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind.’ The premise of metabolomics is that by measuring metabolite profiles, one can get a better understanding of the underlying cellular processes responsible for generating them. The combination of high performance liquid chromatography with high resolution tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) is one of the principal analytical techniques used to obtain metabolite profiles, and also to identify the small molecules present within the profile. The AB SCIEX 5600 tandem mass spectrometry system purchased under this grant is an example of a state-of-the-art high resolution HPLC-MS/MS instrument. It has been used to obtain metabolite profiles for samples from more than fifty different projects. Samples have included urine and serum, as well as tissue extracts from plants, insects, animals and microorganisms. More than 2 terabytes of metabolomics data have been obtained and these, along with sample preparation and analysis protocols and other metadata are publically available at The data we obtained was applicable to various scientific disciplines including biochemical pathway determination, functional genomics, toxicology, disease diagnosis, natural product identification and nutritional studies. More than 75 individuals have received some form of metabolomics training, which includes experimental design, sample preparation, instrument operation, data acquisition, data processing and analysis.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Pennsylvania State University
University Park
United States
Zip Code