Quantification for non-targeted LC/MS screening without standard substances

Jaanus Liigand, Tingting Wang, Joshua Kellogg, Jørn Smedsgaard, Nadja Cech, Anneli Kruve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Non-targeted and suspect analyses with liquid chromatography/electrospray/high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/HRMS) are gaining importance as they enable identification of hundreds or even thousands of compounds in a single sample. Here, we present an approach to address the challenge to quantify compounds identified from LC/HRMS data without authentic standards. The approach uses random forest regression to predict the response of the compounds in ESI/HRMS with a mean error of 2.2 and 2.0 times for ESI positive and negative mode, respectively. We observe that the predicted responses can be transferred between different instruments via a regression approach. Furthermore, we applied the predicted responses to estimate the concentration of the compounds without the standard substances. The approach was validated by quantifying pesticides and mycotoxins in six different cereal samples. For applicability, the accuracy of the concentration prediction needs to be compatible with the effect (e.g. toxicology) predictions. We achieved the average quantification error of 5.4 times, which is well compatible with the accuracy of the toxicology predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5808
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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