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Expanded Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Platform Provides All-in-One Toxicology Solution


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Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is providing forensic toxicologists, clinical research toxicologists, employee drug testing facilities, and wellness organizations with an all-in-one liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) toxicology solution to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of emerging and illicit drugs.


The expansion of the Thermo Scientific Tox Explorer Collection onto the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Exploris Mass Spectrometer platform provides access to ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry specifically required to identify analytes in complex matrices, increasing laboratory productivity and improving the specificity and selectivity of toxicology analysis. This toxicology solution offers a standardized method with LC retention times that allows users to get up and running fast. It utilizes a comprehensive high-resolution accurate mass (HRAM) spectral library that has been expanded to over 1,700 compounds, enabling toxicology scientists to screen and quantify a wide and diverse range of compounds, with different hydrophobicities and polarities. The library also includes 212 fentanyl analogs, making it the largest fentanyl HRAM library to date. This solution comes complete with the software, service and support to sustain laboratory productivity.


Thermo Fisher Scientific is showcasing the Tox Explorer Collection during the 70th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics, being held June 5-9, 2022 in Booth 400 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota and at the Hilton Minneapolis Grand Ballrooms E, F, G.


“The increase in illicit drug use and introduction of new synthetic drugs every year present challenges to the toxicology community in forensics, clinical research and sports anti-doping,” said Bradley Hart, senior director, analytical sciences and life science mass spectrometry, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “This expansion of the Tox Explorer Collection offers an all-in-one LC-MS solution to help our customers navigate these complexities with ease, solving complex analytical challenges with a comprehensive method from sample acquisition to reporting.”


Simon Hudson, technical director, LGC ASSURE, states, “We have developed an in-house broad coverage ‘open’ screen for NPS, drugs of abuse and medications based on Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Q Exactive mass spectrometers that has allowed us to successfully deliver forensic toxicology services for the past 10 years.


The use of the Tox Explorer Collection on the Exploris 120 mass spectrometer has significantly enhanced this screening service in several ways. Additional analytes in the database have provided enhanced coverage, helping in the identification of unique compounds in various coroner’s cases. Also, the greater scan speed of the Exploris MS allows complex acquisition workflows, including polarity switching and targeted data dependent MS2 (ddMS2) in a single analysis. Overall, the Tox Explorer Collection for Orbitrap Exploris 120 MS provides a powerful solution for forensic toxicology.”


Features of the Thermo Scientific Tox Explorer Collection include:

  • LC method with retention times on Vanquish Flex Binary UPLC system allows laboratories to get up and running quickly.
  • Accucore phenyl hexyl column enables high-resolution separation of a wide range of analytes without high backpressure.
  • Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Exploris 120 MS provides ultra-high-resolution MS, HRAM specificity and polarity switching for fast, accurate and reportable results.
  • Compound database and HRAM spectral library provides users with experimentally obtained high-resolution mass spectral information of over 1,700+ drugs of abuse, novel psychoactive substances (NPS), prescription drugs, etc. contained in the mzVault MS/MS library.
  • TraceFinder 5.1 software is a single software solution for data acquisition, processing and reporting that enables screening, quantitation and identification of compounds to be performed in one software package.
  • Customizability: The library can be easily added to or modified; subset libraries may be created with or without retention times for increased flexibility. 
  • Sample preparation guidelines are provided for different matrices to clean up matrix interferences before injection into the LC-MS instrument.
  • Retrospective analysis provides the ability to reprocess data that was previously collected in a non-targeted manner.
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