MScout is a tool for assessing peak capacity, dynamic range, and signal-to-noise in low-resolution liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry (LC-MS) data. MScout reads in mass spectra and finds peaks above a user-selected signal-to-noise ratio, using an algorithm adapted from Horn et al. . These peaks are then checked to see if they persist in the time domain, i.e., if they behave like a real peptide eluting from an LC column. As peaks are checked for behavior in the time domain, chromatography peak widths are calculated, and the chromatographic peak capacity is computed. At the end of the calculations, dynamic range is computed by dividing the intensity of the most intense peak by the intensity of the least intense peak.
MScout is also capable of comparing signals between separate LC-MS runs. This capability was developed to analyze LC-FAIMS-MS data, in which there are separate MS1 files for each compensation voltage (CV) used. MScout was used specifically for this purpose in our recent evaluation of FAIMS (high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) on an ion trap mass spectrometer .
Note. MScout is intended for use with low-resolution data such as that obtained on ion trap or triple-quadrupole instruments. Results from higher-resolution datasets are unpredictable. For high-resolution data, try using Hardklör.