In Part 1 of this blog series we found out that we can have our cake and eat it when it comes to the ability to acquire high quality, deep fragmentation information on all relevant compounds within a sample, regardless of the complexity of matrix. All pretty cool stuff, especially because it isn’t a complicated process to manage.
“I’m not a big fan of complicated…”
Now that we have all this data — more meaningful data and not just more data — we need to be able to make sense of it all: just what are all those peaks within my data? What about all that MSn information?
I’ve just created a whole host of information which surely contains a lot of valuable information about the actual contents within the samples that I have just analysed.
Well, thankfully if we want to keep the cake theme, then we can have more cake (I’m really going to need to exercise more…).
We can sometimes take the cloud for granted in our everyday lives — from accessing our social media accounts to streaming the latest episodes of our favorite television series — but do we ever consider its benefits for the laboratory? When it comes to confidently identifying the components within a sample based upon high quality MSn data, we really need a repository of information that we can go to and compare against our experimental data!
Thankfully, there is such a repository of information available, and, wait for it, it’s called mzCloud! Imagine that. Because it is in the cloud, it is constantly updated, meaning you have access to the latest information, as well as using the processing power of someone else’s computer to do all the searching.
Now officially a part of the Thermo Fisher Scientific family, mzCloud is, as you may have guessed, an extensive online high-resolution mass spectral fragmentation library. So, what does this library contain, you may ask? Not only is this library the world’s largest high-resolution MSMS library in terms of the number of compounds (>17000 at the last count) and spectra (>4.7 million), it is amazingly diverse regarding the different classes of compounds. Each compound has been fragmented using different techniques (collision induced dissociation and higher energy collisional dissociation), at different collision energies in positive and negative ionisation modes AND (I’ll let your brain catch a breath…) it is also extensively curated. Yes, real people check the contents and ensure that each entry has been mass-error corrected, contains a lot of useful metadata and the fragmentation spectra are also structurally annotated.
“That’s quite some library.”
Like what you are learning?
Yes, it is amazing. Watch these videos to see the difference when combining hardware that delivers high quality data with software which can make the most of mzCloud can make, as well as hear from the creators of mzCloud:
So we have heard about the power of Thermo Scientific Compound Discoverer software which, amongst many other things, allows the automated searching of multiple samples against mzCloud to confidently identify those known-knowns (the things that we knew were in there), the known-unknowns (things that we didn’t know that were in there, but were confidently identified) and the dreaded unknown-unknowns (the things that we didn’t know were in there, and are also not in the library).
Q: If something isn’t in the library, how can you identify it?
A: With something called mzLogic – but that’s for Part 3! 😊
If you are interested in learning more, which by now you surely must be, then there is a whitepaper which details everything I have talked about here in much more detail. Actually, there is some bonus information in there, too, for those that like the sound of mzCloud but cannot connect to the internet – yep, we’ve got that covered, too (but you’ll have to read the whitepaper to find out more).
So, we really are getting there: from Spectrum to Structure…