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TargetScreener HR

TargetScreener provides reliable, simultaneous detection and quantitation of multiple targets in a large variety of different matrices

Turnkey solution

Lowest false positive rate




TargetScreener HR

Several thousand compounds can be screened in a single analysis, covering drugs, pesticides, toxins, and environmental compounds.
Target analytes are confidently differentiated based on four key components: mass accuracy, retention time, detection of diagnostic ions, and observed isotopic patterns.
Methodology for data collection generates a unique depth and breadth of data, supporting routine retrospective analyses and non-targeted discovery screening.


TargetScreener HR

TargetScreener HR – The comprehensive screening solution

Getting it right first time
Analyzing complex food/water samples for drugs, pesticides or mycotoxins, or equally challenging human/animal urine, saliva, or serum samples for poisons or drugs, is a demanding application. TargetScreener HR is a powerful solution based upon accurate mass analysis with Bruker QTOF systems and highly curated databases (over 2800 compounds) to ensure reporting false positives (or false negatives) is minimized. Obtaining highly accurate quantitative data is also assured with TargetScreener HR.

Added to the powerful mass spectrometer system are TargetScreener HR integrated software algorithms, methods, columns and databases to allow it to work ‘out of the box’.

Schematic of Bruker TargetScreener workflow

Proven to minimize false positives
The importance of using all information to eliminate false positive and false negative identifications to achieve unambiguous identifications cannot be over-stressed.

Reliance on precursor accurate mass and retention time alone can lead to a high number of false positive/negative results.

Mass spectra also contains very informative isotope patterns and characteristic fragmentation patterns and by utilizing the full data content available, false positives and false negatives are essentially eliminated.

Such an extensive data set can be obtained by using Broadband CID (bbCID) data acquisition scan mode to continuously generate high resolution accurate mass parent ion, true isotope pattern intensities and fragment qualifier ions throughout the experiment. Combining all these data and adding retention time information with TargetScreener HR means false positive detections are practically eliminated, delivering maximum confidence in your screening result.

During the screening process, the QTOF mass spectrometer rapidly and continuously cycles between low collision energy (TOF-MS) and elevated collision energy (bbCID) MS/MS, resulting in the seamless collection of accurate mass precursor and fragment ion data in a single analysis.

At the heart of the TargetScreener solution is the exact mass pesticide database. In addition to high resolution monoisotopic precursor ion masses and retention time data, the database also contains up to ten high resolution diagnostic qualifier ion information, comprising of accurate mass bbCID fragments and 'in source' fragment ions as well as adduct and isomer information.

High resolution XIC traces for qualifier ions unambiguously differentiate isomeric pesticides prometryn and terbutryn



Snapshot of the TargetScreener HR accurate mass and retention time database

Intelligent Data Review utilizing ‘exception based’ algorithms
Data processing for screening and quantitation is powered by TASQ® (Target Analysis for Screening and Quantitation) software. TASQ® intelligently uses the diagnostic qualifier ions to reduce false positive detections, bringing a new level of confidence to screening workflows.

For total confidence in the results, four dimensions of confirmation are used in the TargetScreener HR workflow:

  • Parent ion or adduct exact mass
  • Retention time
  • Isotopic pattern fidelity
  • Exact mass of fragment qualifier Ions

Color coded screening results are easily reviewed in either a sample centric or analyte centric fashion as desired by the analyst. Once reviewed, qualitative and quantitative sample reports are then easily generated.

TargetScreener detects 'all of the ions, all of the time' in full scan MS and MS/MS modes without compromising sensitivity or resolution which results in a dataset that is complete and unrestricted. The diagnostic qualifier ions can then be used as a part of an enhanced confirmation criterion to eliminate false positive findings as well as delivering unambiguous ID's for co-eluting isobaric drugs.


TargetScreener HR

Routine screening and in-depth retrospective analyses

Key reasons for implementing TargetScreener HR
Using TargetScreener HR means that within the analytical run time of 20 minutes the system collects ‘all of the data, all of the time’ thus providing retrospective and unknown identification capabilities. Hence, if previously run samples are required to be screened for new compounds of interest then a simple operation allows this without the need to reinject the sample.

The highly curated large database provides the highest chance of eliminating false positive and false negative rates by using resolution, accurate mass, isotopic patterns, adducts and bbCID fragmentation patterns and comparing to the acquired data. The system is also highly sensitive and quantitative for use in food safety or drugs of abuse work and required legal limits of detection.

TargetScreener HR is extremely powerful for in-depth, investigative screening and quantitation as well as retrospective data mining.


Version 4.0 adds several key capabilities to the TargetScreener HR solution:

  • Flexibility of using both targeted and non-targeted workflows in routine and research environments
  • Power to confidently answer questions “what else is in the sample?” and “what is the difference between samples?” with non-targeted data acquisition, analysis, and retrospective data mining
  • Adaptability of employing both LC and GC separations and switching between UHPLC-QTOF and GC-APCI-QTOF workflows interchangeably
  • Expanded database of drugs, pesticides, and environmental pollutants for both LC and GC workflow
  • New database for water analysis with nearly 400 entries covering all compounds required by the European regulations


TargetScreener HR

TargetScreener HR in forensic markets

Analyzing complex body fluids for the presence of drugs and/or toxicants together with their associated metabolites is a challenging application especially when ‘getting it right first time’ is of major importance. TargetScreener HR is designed to meet these challenges and either accurately report which drugs/toxicants are present in the sample, or if no matches are found in the database, then provide several key pieces of analytical data and information to give the best chance of elucidating an identification.

TargetScreener HR - Get the full view
TargetScreener HR is designed specifically for use with Bruker QTOF mass spectrometers to enable comprehensive targeted forensic screening and clinical screening, confirmation and quantitation of drugs and other toxicants in human body fluids. The solution is highly automated and hence minimizes method development time for toxicological screening.

At the heart of the TargetScreener HR is a high-quality forensic database of over 2,000 compounds of forensic relevance. The high resolution (HR) database includes exact mass data for parent ions, adducts, fragment ions as well as isotopic pattern and retention time information delivering maximum confidence in the end result and with a total injection to injection analysis time of 20 minutes.

a) Chromatographic overlay of bbCID qualifier(QI) ion traces. b) bb CID spectra, Qualifier Ions circled in green.

For added flexibility, users can easily add new compounds to the HR-MS database as they become available, futureproofing the investment for years to come, and providing the ability to undertake retrospective analysis on previously analyzed samples.

Targeting New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
The ability to add new compounds to the HR-MS database using a standardized protocol is particularly pertinent given the explosion in the number of new synthetic cannabinoids hitting the drug scene. Given that TargetScreener HR collects ‘all of the data, all of the time’, all data files contain all the information required to retrospectively re-screen a previously analyzed sample when new compounds have been added to the database.

Should a positive ID still not be achieved, the mass spectra of an unknown peak will contain pseudo molecular ion accurate mass information, true isotopic ion (TIP – registered trade mark) for elemental composition and accurate mass fragment ions thus allowing the best chance of elucidating a chemical structure.

Furthermore, significant advances within Bruker’s QTOF instruments have resulted in systems which are both very sensitive and possess a large linear dynamic range in their response thus making them eminently suitable for quantitative studies.

Collectively, these benefits make TargetScreener HR the most powerful tool for in-depth forensic analysis.

Broadband CID (bbCID) data acquisition differentiating two isomeric synthetic cannbinoids, JWH-122 and JWH-019. Their unique bbCID qualifier ions (highlighted in the green boxes) are used for unambiguous identification.

TargetScreener HR – exceeding MRLs in food analysis and water analysis

Automated workflows to exceed MRLs
Analyzing for food contaminants to levels which meet regulatory maximum residue limits (MRLs) in a wide variety of complex matrices is a challenge which TargetScreener HR excels at. Food and water analysis often present similar challenges, where compound classes such as pesticides and hormones are frequently encountered. The power within TargetScreener HR handles such challenges with ease.

Pesticide analysis and food contaminants screening
Using pesticides to reduce crop damage and to increase horticultural productivity has been implemented on a global scale for many years and, due to their toxicity, the potential migration of these chemicals into the human food and water supply chains presents considerable health concerns. Therefore, the MRL permitted for pesticides in food; feeds and water are strictly controlled by local and international regulatory bodies.

TargetScreener HR is specifically designed to deal with these challenges by ensuring that during data acquisition, all compounds eluting from the UPLC column have molecular ion data and fragmentation spectra acquired all of the time. Hence no compound is missed. This is achieved by rapidly cycling between different scan modes to ensure a seamless collection of precursor and fragment ion data in a single dataset.

Illustrating the accumulation of retention time and qualifier ion information to reduce false positive detections.

Such a dataset contains pseudo molecular ions, adduct ions, fragment ions and isotopic pattern together with their retention time. All this information is used by the database to provide enhanced levels of compound identification and hence dramatically minimize the potential for false positive of false negative results.  Measurement of the precursor accurate mass and retention time alone can lead to a high number of false positive results, particularly with complex matrices such as QuEChERS extractions.

All detected compounds can then be quantified against their MRL and reports generated with a high level of confidence.

Using TargetScreener HR allows over 2000 compounds to be accurately screened and quantified in water and food analysis ensuring the presence of contaminants are accurately reported.



"Whenever a more in-depth analysis is required in our laboratory, the TargetScreener is our go-to solution. Providing full scan and bbCID high resolution mass informa-tion, also allowing for fully retrospective data evaluation, it is ideally suited for cases dealing with ‘general unknown screening’. It is a valuable tool for identifying new psychoactive substances (NPS) and their metabolites, assisting with their structural elucidation and analytical characterization. The TargetScreener also proved to be very useful for comprehensive drug screening in alternative matrices, especially hair samples ."

Prof. Dr. Volker Auwärter, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Freiburg

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