Performance Evaluation of a Nontargeted Platform Using Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Integrating Computer-Assisted Structure Identification and Automated Semiquantification for the Comprehensive Chemical Characterization of a Complex Matrix


Authored by  A Knorr, M Almstetter, E Martin, A Castellon, P Pospisil, M Bentley

Published in Analytical Chemistry    

Abstract

Nontargeted screening methodologies are powerful approaches for comprehensive chemical characterization of complex matrixes. In order to maximize chemical space coverage, three analytical methods using two-dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry for nonpolar, polar, and volatile compounds have been established. The structural identification process was streamlined with an in-house developed computer-assisted structure identification platform, which facilitated the identification of novel compounds and also delivered semiquantitative concentrations for all compounds. Key performance parameters for this nontargeted platform, including chemical space coverage, confidence for structural identification, accuracy of semiquantification, and performance of differential analysis, were evaluated. The automated structural identification process was assessed using a subset of 243 compounds (out of 2990), which were confirmed to be present in cigarette smoke using reference standards. Consistently high true positive identification rates between 88.2% and 96.2% across the different concentration ranges investigated were demonstrated. Accuracy for semiquantification was assessed by comparison with quantitative data from literature, where a maximum 4-fold deviation from available targeted analysis values was estimated.