Mass spectrometry imaging is well-suited to characterizing sample surfaces for their chemical content in a spatially resolved manner. However, when the surface contains small objects with significant empty spaces between them, more efficient approaches to sample acquisition are possible. Image-guided mass spectrometry (MS) enables high-throughput analysis of a diverse range of sample types, such as microbial colonies, liquid microdroplets, and others, by recognizing and analyzing selected location targets in an image. Here, we describe an imaging protocol and macroMS, an online software suite that can be used to enhance MS measurements of macroscopic samples that are imaged by a camera or a flatbed scanner. The web-based tool enables users to find and filter targets from the optical images, correct optical distortion issues for improved spatial location of selected targets, input the custom geometry files into an MS device to acquire spectra at the selected locations, and finally, perform limited data analysis and use visualization tools to aid locating samples containing compounds of interest. Using the macroMS suite, an enzyme mutant library of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and nL droplet arrays of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas fluorescens have been assayed at a rate of μ2 s/sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1188
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 5 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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