Secondary metabolite discovery requires an unbiased, comprehensive workflow to detect unknown unknowns for which little to no molecular knowledge exists. Untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics is a powerful platform, particularly when coupled with ion mobility for high-throughput gas-phase separations to increase peak capacity and obtain gas-phase structural information. Ion mobility data are described by the amount of time an ion spends in the drift cell, which is directly related to an ion's collision cross section (CCS). The CCS parameter describes the size, shape, and charge of a molecule and can be used to characterize unknown metabolomic species. Here, we describe current and emerging applications of ion mobility-mass spectrometry for prioritization, discovery and structure elucidation, and spatial/temporal characterization.
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