Comparison of NMR and MS

The two most common techniques used in data acquisition are nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry. Table 1 shows some of the key differences between the two techniques.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)Mass spectrometry (MS)
SensitivityLowHigh
ReproducibilityVery highAverage
Number of detectable metabolites30-100300-1000+ (depending on whether GC-MS or LC-MS is used)
Targeted analysisNot optimal for targeted analysisBetter for targeted analysis than NMR
Sample preparationMinimal sample preparation requiredMore complex sample preparation required
Tissue extractionNot required – tissues can be analysed directlyRequires tissue extraction
Sample analysis timeFast – the entire sample can be analysed in one measurementLonger than NMR – requires different chromatography techniques depending on the metabolites analysed
Instrument CostMore expensive and occupies more space than MSCheaper and occupies less space than NMR
Sample CostLow cost per sampleHigh cost per sample
Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of NMR and MS