In chromatographic profiling applications, peak alignment is often essential as most chromatographic systems exhibit small peak shifts over time. When using currently available alignment algorithms, there are several parameters that determine the outcome of the alignment process. Selecting the optimum set of parameters, however, is not straightforward, and the quality of an alignment result is at least partly determined by subjective decisions. Here, we demonstrate a new strategy to objectively determine the quality of an alignment result. This strategy makes use of a set of control samples that are analysed both spiked and non-spiked. With this set, not only the system and the method can be checked but also the quality of the peak alignment can be evaluated. The developed strategy was tested on a representative metabolomics data set using three software packages, namely Markerlynx, MZmine and MetAlign. The results indicate that the method was able to assess and define the quality of an alignment process without any subjective interference of the analyst, making the method a valuable contribution to the data handling process of chromatography-based metabolomics data.
Parameter selection for peak alignment in chromatographic sample profiling: objective quality indicators and use of control samples
2009; 394 (5): 1273–1281
Analytical and Bioanalytical chemistry
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