Mass Spectrometry Application Areas

Mass spectrometry applications

Mass spectrometry is applicable across diverse fields, including forensic toxicology, metabolomics, proteomics, pharma/biopharma, and clinical research. Specific applications of mass spectrometry include drug testing and discovery, food contamination detection, pesticide residue analysis, isotope ratio determination, protein identification, and carbon dating.

Listed below are some application areas in which mass spectrometry has been used to discover, deduce, and quantify sample compounds.

Applications of mass spectrometry in proteomics - Characterization of proteins and protein complexes, sequencing of peptides, and identification of posttranslational modifications.

Applications of mass spectrometry in metabolomics - Cancer screening and diagnosis, global metabolic fingerprinting analysis, biomarker discovery and profiling, biofuels generation and use, lipidomics studies, and metabolic disorder profiling.

Applications of mass spectrometry in environmental analysis - Drinking water testing, pesticide screening and quantitation, soil contamination assessment, carbon dioxide and pollution monitoring, and trace elemental analysis of heavy metals leaching.

Applications of mass spectrometry in pharmaceutical analysis - Drug discovery and absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination (ADME) studies, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analyses, metabolite screening, and preclinical development.

Applications of mass spectrometry in forensic analysis - Analysis of trace evidence (e.g., fibers in carpet, polymers in paint), arson investigation (e.g., fire accelerant), confirmation of drug abuse, and identification of explosive residues (bombing investigation).

Clinical applications of mass spectrometry - Clinical drug development, Phase 0 studies, clinical tests, disease screening, drug therapy monitoring, analysis of peptides used for diagnostic testing, and identification of infectious agents for targeted therapies.

NEW! Orbitrap ID-X Tribrid MS transforming small molecule identification and characterization
NEW! Orbitrap ID-X Tribrid MS transforming small molecule identification and characterization

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Mass spectrometry applications features


Learn more about how high resolution mass spectrometry can be applied towards untargeted global metabolomics and metabolome-wide association studies in the study of aging, toxicity and disease.


Understand the ways in which UHPLC-MS is being used to study thousands of human metabolites in health and disease through a large-scale untargeted metabolic profiling project called HUSERMET.

Application notebook

Mass Spectrometry Applications for Environmental Analysis

Read more about how different MS technologies have been used to screen and quantify surface, soil, air, and water contaminants in the environment.

Application notebook

Orbitrap quantitation: lab of the future

Find out how HRAM Orbitrap technology enables reliable and cost-efficient identification and quantitation of analytes in food safety testing, clinical research, forensic toxicology, Omics applications, and more.

Applications areas

Mass spectrometry, coupled with different chromatography techniques (GC, IC and LC), can routinely analyze hundreds of compounds in a single sample and run, making it a very powerful, high-throughput process for metabolomics and lipidomics. Learn more about how the advancement of high resolution accurate mass (HRAM) MS systems, as well as enhanced metabolite databases/libraries, enables you to assess metabolites with high selectivity and sensitivity.