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A method and system is provided for mass spectrometry for identification of a specific elemental formula for an unknown compound which includes but is not limited to a metabolite. The method includes calculating a natural abundance probability (NAP) of a given isotopologue for isotopes of non-labelling elements of an unknown compound. Molecular fragments for a subset of isotopes identified using the NAP are created and sorted into a requisite cache data structure to be subsequently searched. Peaks from raw spectrum data from mass spectrometry for an unknown compound. Sample-specific peaks of the unknown com- pound from various spectral artifacts in ultra-high resolution Fourier transform mass spectra are separated. A set of possible isotope-resolved molecular formula (IMF) are created by iteratively searching the molecular fragment caches and combining with additional isotopes and then statistically filtering the results based on NAP and mass-to-charge (m/2) matching probabilities. An unknown compound is identified and its corresponding elemental molecular formula (EMF) from statistically-significant caches of isotopologues with compatible IMFs.


University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, KY (US)

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