Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 12, pp 2865–2877 | Cite as

Probing the application range and selectivity of a differential mobility spectrometry–mass spectrometry platform for metabolomics

  • Stefanie Wernisch
  • Farsad Afshinnia
  • Thekkelnaycke Rajendiran
  • Subramaniam Pennathur
Paper in Forefront


Metabolomics applications of differential mobility spectrometry (DMS)–mass spectrometry (MS) have largely concentrated on targeted assays and the removal of isobaric or chemical interferences from the signals of a small number of analytes. In the work reported here, we systematically investigated the application range of a DMS-MS method for metabolomics using more than 800 authentic metabolite standards as the test set. The coverage achieved with the DMS-MS platform was comparable to that achieved with chromatographic methods. High orthogonality was observed between hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography and the 2-propanol-mediated DMS separation, and previously observed similarities were confirmed for the DMS platform and reversed-phase liquid chromatography. We describe the chemical selectivity observed for selected subsets of the metabolite test set, such as lipids, amino acids, nucleotides, and organic acids. Furthermore, we rationalize the behavior and separation of isomeric aromatic acids, bile acids, and other metabolites.

Graphical abstract

Differential mobility spectrometry–mass spectrometry (DMS-MS) facilitates rapid separation of metabolites of similar mass-to-charge ratio by distributing them across the compensation voltage range on the basis of their different molecular structures.


Differential mobility spectrometry Mass spectrometry Metabolomics Lipidomics Selectivity 



This work was supported in part by the Postdoctoral Translational Scholar Program of the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (UL1TR000433 to SW) and National Institutes of Health grants K08DK106523 (to FA) and P30DK089503, DK082841, P30DK081943, U2C ES026553, and DK097153 (to SP).

Compliance with ethical standards

This work used only commercially available chemicals and did not involve samples or procedures requiring approval by an institutional review board or informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no financial and no nonfinancial conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_978_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (5.3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5386 kb)
216_2018_978_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (112 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 112 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Wernisch
    • 1
  • Farsad Afshinnia
    • 1
  • Thekkelnaycke Rajendiran
    • 2
    • 3
  • Subramaniam Pennathur
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Division of NephrologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource CoreUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Molecular and Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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