Fera currently have six state-of-the-art high resolution accurate mass (HR-AM) mass spectrometers (MS) with gas or liquid chromatography modules (GC, LC). These instruments acquire full scan MS information providing a plethora of potential 'non-targeted' solutions when combined with sophisticated bioinformatics workflows.
This has various applications such as chemical profiling through non-targeted methods, overall screening against known molecules, metabolomics, proteomics, and environmental fate and behaviour studies.
As two of our HR-AM MS instruments are hybrid MS platforms (Orbitrap and Quadrupole-Time of Flight) we can provide further structural elucidation (often in combination with NMR spectroscopy) of significant unknowns. We can also carry out chemical radio-labelled studies on these hybrid instruments when required.
The Exactive High Resolution Mass Spectrometer used within Fera offers a great deal of detail when looking at non-targeted analysis, with especially strong uses for Metabolic identification within agrochemical samples.
The extra detail allows us to pinpoint exact compounds where we could not have before. And with the non-targeted nature of the technology the vast amounts of data gathered are invaluable for food safety, due to the extensive profiling uses it offers. These datasets can be used retrospectively, as a control reference for any future sampling, as well as to compare to any subsequent testing methods.
Through the use of discovery-based relative quantitation our scientists are able to determine relative metabolite differences in one sample group compared to other samples without prior knowledge of the metabolites involved. This is the most commonly used technique for relative quantitation of metabolites.
Fera currently use this technology within our many contaminants tests, including ‘Environmental Contaminants’ and ‘Contaminants and Residues’. The non-targeted nature of these tests requires a multi-disciplinary response, so the detail and exhaustive datasets produced by LC-HRMS are invaluable in the collaborative setting of many contaminant tests.