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imarkRoy J. CarverUniversity of Illinois
Biotechnology Center

Metabolomics Center
Dr. Zhong (Lucas) Li, Director
264 Burrill Hall, MC-120
407 S Goodwin 
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 333-5939    



Target metabolomics (alcohols, alkaloids, amines and polyamines, amino acids, fatty acids up to C30, organic acids, phenolics, sterols, sugars and sugar phosphates, etc.) and metabolite profiling are provided following the flow chart in the left.

Users (both on- and off-campus) are encouraged to discuss their projects with the center staff before using the services and instrumentation in their experimentation. Depending on instrumentation and user preference there are several categories of user/staff participation: user operation after the training by center staff, full service by center Staff, and collaborative projects where the investigator and the center staff partner in experimental design, experimentation, troubleshooting, and data analysis. For the latter two services, please talk with center staff for related user fee.

GC/MS, LC with DAD, and LC/Trap MS are open access to on-campus users after the satisfactory training from center staff.

For off-campus projects, please fill Off-Campus User Form. If the project is exceeding $5,000, a Technical Testing Services Agreement is required. 

For additional information please contact Dr.Lucas Li(


Agilent 1100 LC with Diode Array Detector and fraction collector (LC)
Agilent LC
With full wavelength ranged from 190nm to 950nm, it provides superior separation for metabolites which have UV-Vis absorption.

Agilent 6890N GC/5973 MS (GC/MS)
Agilent 6890
Equipped with Electron Impact ionization (EI) and Chemical Ionization (CI), it has flame ionization detector (FID), thermal conductivity detector (TCD), and mass selective detector. Commercial Wiley and NIST libraries (2008 edition) are built in to interpret the mass spectra. The instrument can be used to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze a wide variety of volatile compounds and nonvolatile compounds (after chemical derivatization).


Agilent 7890A GC/5975C MS (GC/MS)
Agilent 7890
Equipped with Electron Impact ionization (EI) and Chemical Ionization (CI), it has flame ionization detector (FID) in addition to the standard 5975C mass selective detector. Commercial Wiley and NIST libraries (2008 edition) are built in to interpret the mass spectra.

Agilent 1100 LC/MSD Trap XCT Plus (LC/MS)
Agilent MSD
Besides an ion trap mass selective detector, the instrument also has a Multiple Wavelength Detector (MWD) covering wavelength range of 190-950nm. Ionization modes include Electrospray Ionization (ESI), Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization (APCI), and Atmospheric Pressure Photo Ionization (APPI). Sample can be introduced via direct infusion (via precise infusion pump) or on-line HPLC. Additionally, tandem mass spectrometry (MS n) can fragment parent ions and fragments to supply valuable structural information. Q uantitative and qualitative analysis of a variety of compounds (up to MW 4000 Da) can be achieved. Ideal for high standard qualitative analysis.

Sciex 5500 QTrap with Agilent 1200 LC (LC/MS)
A benchtop hybrid triple Quadrupole-Linear Accelerator trap mass spectrometer designed for LC/MS/MS analysis. Available ionization sources include ESI, APCI, and APPI. The scan modes include: full scan MS and selected ion scan for both Q1 and Q3, Product Ion Scan, Precursor Ion Scan, Neutral Loss Scan, Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM), Enhanced MS Scan, Enhanced Product Ion Scan, Enhanced Resolution Scan, and MS3 scan. Ideal for utmost quantitative analysis with the following features:

  • Perform multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) scans for superior quantitation using this high-sensitivity triple quadrupole system.
  • Discover (identify) and quantitate targeted biomarkers.
  • Enable high-sensitivity, full-scan MS, MS/MS, and MS3 with high selectivity from true triple quadrupole precursor ion (PI) and neutral loss (NL) scans.


Thermo Q-Exactive Hybrid Quadrupole-Orbitrap Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS)  OrbiTrap
This benchtop LC-MS/MS system combines quadruple precursor ion selection with high-resolution, accurate-mass (HRAM) Orbitrap detection to help identify and confirm more compounds.  The Q Exactive Mass Spectrometer is very useful for untargeted or targeted screening with the following features:

  • Better than 3ppm mass accuracy in full-scan with external calibration.
  • Resolving power up to 140,000 FWHM eliminates isobaric interferences.
  • multiple dissociation techniques—in-source CID and HCD—aid in compound identification
  • Extended mass range of m/z 50 - 6,000.
  • Dedicated data analysis software SIEVE and LIPIDSEARCH for metabolite information mining including lipid profiling.
  • Diode array detector (DAD) is connected with Ultimate 3000 HPLC.

Microplate Reader
Molecular Devices
SpectraMax® M2 Multi-detection reader has 6- to 384-well microplate reading capability as well as a built-in absorbance (200-1000 nm), luminescence and fluorescence (excitation: 250-850 nm, emission: 360-850 nm) cuvette port


Agilent 7890B GC/5977A Extractor XL MS (GC/MS)

​Agilent 7890B GC/5977A Extractor XL MS (GC/MS)







All work performed by the Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center (CBC) should be acknowledged in scholarly publications, posters, and presentations. Proper recognition allows us to measure the impact of our work and supports our initiatives in obtaining sponsored funding. In addition, any CBC personnel who make a substantial intellectual or experimental contribution are deserving of further recognition as co-author.