What were the hot topics in mass spec 2018?

The word cloud of IMSC 2018 topics reveals that quantitation and bio-samples are currently highly important topics in the mass spectrometry.

What would be a better start for 2019 than to have a look at where we are standing to set the goals for the upcoming year? At the end of 2018, I gave a few talks about trends in analytical chemistry and mass spectrometry. While preparing for these talks I decided to overcome my own ignorance towards topics out of my immediate research interests and I carried out some research. And what would be a better place to start this kind of research as the last International Mass Spectrometry Conference (IMSC) that took place in Florence in August and is (one of) the largest mass spectrometry events in the world. So, how to decide what are the hot topics? I decided to take a word cloud to help me based on all the words present in the titles of the presentations, both oral presentations and posters. The result is given above. The words that are presented larger occurred more times in the titles.

Bio-revolution is still there

The most popular word over all the presentations was “metabolomics”, which was accompanied by several other human, health and biology related words, such as “proteome”, “bio”, “drug”. In the titles, these words were very strongly combined with various other popular words such as LC-MS, imaging but also both targeted and non-targeted analysis. Another highly popular word related to specific sample type turned out to be “food” which made it to the top 10 of most popular words. Interestingly enough, none of the “environmental” sample type words made it to the very top. In this case, it actually does not mean that MS is not used in environmental monitoring; rather, environmental samples vary a lot and normally authors indicate the specific sample type (“water”, “soil”, “Rain river”, “sludge”).

Quantitation is important

Another important class of popular words indicated the need for quantitative MS analysis; “level” and “quantification” also both made it to the top 10 most popular words. At the same time, identification was also a frequently mentioned word. Therefore, MS is still bread and butter for both identification and quantitation.

LC rules over GC

From the method, related words “method” and “LC-MS” were very frequently present. “LC-MS” showed very clear-cut popularity over GC-MS. This may arise from the general tendency that analytes that we are focussing on are increasingly becoming either more polar (metabolites), larger (proteins), or both. These properties of the analyte definitely give LC an advantage over GC.

All in all, 2019 will definitely bring a lot of new and exciting research and we are happy to give our best for the community as well.