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Agilent's Software Enables Performance, Usability of LC/MS Systems

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Agilent Technologies Inc. has introduced advanced software that is designed to enable the high performance and usability of its 6000 Series Triple Quadrupole and Quadrupole Time-of-Flight (Q-TOF) LC/MS systems.

Agilent claims that, the MassHunter Workstation software will allow scientists to transform large amounts of raw data into meaningful information about the identity and quantity of compounds found in complex mixtures in applications that include food safety, environmental and forensic analysis, drug discovery and development, proteomics and metabolomics research.

The software platform supports instrument control, data acquisition, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and reporting.

It combines functionality and open architecture to make the power of MS analysis accessible to a wide range of scientists beyond the traditional core lab users.

"We designed the Agilent MassHunter Workstation from the ground up, based on intensive customer feedback, and used the most advanced algorithms and the most user-friendly interface tools," said Taia Ergueta, general manager of Agilent's mass spectrometry business.

"The easier a software package is to learn and use, the faster customers will be able to increase their own productivity. This is one of the main design criteria behind the new platform."

The MassHunter Workstation is designed to provide an integrated, single point of instrument control and data acquisition for Agilent's LC/MS instruments, with real-time monitoring, method set-up and Agilent's proprietary autotune for automated MS system tuning and mass calibration.

Customers using both Q-TOF and triple quad LC/MS can move from one system to another without having to master different software or substantially change their methods.

MassHunter .NET-based qualitative and quantitative analysis software modules feature compound-centric data mining and navigation, providing the advanced data processing tools available for LC/MS.

The MassHunter Qualitative Analysis software is designed to allow users to automatically find and extract all spectral and chromatographic information for each component in a sample through unique algorithms. 

Data navigation capabilities permit users to browse through compound-specific information in a single sample and compare chromatograms and spectra among multiple samples.

The software also includes a customizable user interface and the capability to save, export or copy results into other applications.

The MassHunter Quantitative software supports simple and efficient review of large multi-compound quantitation batches.

A graphical "Batch-at-a-Glance" interface allows users to navigate results by compound or sample, or switch between the two approaches.

A quantitation engine allows users to set up over 20 different outlier criteria, and a parameter-less integrator facilitates unsupervised quantitation.

The ability to filter results and focus on outliers or questionable peak integrations reduces the data review time for large multi-compound batches.

A method task editor and "Curve-Fit Assistant" provide for simple method and multi-level calibration setup.

The MassHunter Workstation also supports flexible results reporting with Microsoft® Excel, a custom reporting macro add-in, and report templates.

All results and system parameters are stored in XML and therefore can be extracted into Excel-based reports and imported into proprietary customer databases.

Agilent has also introduced a wide range of application-specific software that complements the MassHunter Workstation software and allows researchers to address their specific application needs and workflows:

- The MassHunter Profiling software enables comparative expression analysis for biomarker discovery and analysis of impurities and target compounds.

- The MassHunter Bioconfirmation software provides an automated, unattended solution for characterization of recombinant proteins or confirmation of synthetic peptides.

- The upgraded Spectrum Mill for MassHunter Workstation facilitates high-throughput protein identification, characterization and quantitation for proteomic or biomarker research.

Other features of the software platform include the ability to:

- Transfer information or images into commonly used office or business applications.

- Send MS information across a company's network.

- Archive data in Agilent's OpenLab system for centralized enterprise or laboratory-wide data management.

- Integrate with Agilent's GeneSpring bioinformatics platform, which can synthesize information from diverse types of analyses, including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

The MassHunter Workstation will eventually support Agilent's entire 6000 Series family of LC/MS systems, as well as the company's GC/MS and ICP/MS products.

Through the use of industry standards, Agilent also intends to support data generated from multivendor MS systems.