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OpenChrom: a cross-platform open source software for the mass spectrometric analysis of chromatographic data

Philip Wenig* and Juergen Odermatt

Author Affiliations

Department of Wood Science, University of Hamburg, Leuschnerstra├če 91, 21031 Hamburg, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:405  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-405

Published: 30 July 2010



Today, data evaluation has become a bottleneck in chromatographic science. Analytical instruments equipped with automated samplers yield large amounts of measurement data, which needs to be verified and analyzed. Since nearly every GC/MS instrument vendor offers its own data format and software tools, the consequences are problems with data exchange and a lack of comparability between the analytical results. To challenge this situation a number of either commercial or non-profit software applications have been developed. These applications provide functionalities to import and analyze several data formats but have shortcomings in terms of the transparency of the implemented analytical algorithms and/or are restricted to a specific computer platform.


This work describes a native approach to handle chromatographic data files. The approach can be extended in its functionality such as facilities to detect baselines, to detect, integrate and identify peaks and to compare mass spectra, as well as the ability to internationalize the application. Additionally, filters can be applied on the chromatographic data to enhance its quality, for example to remove background and noise. Extended operations like do, undo and redo are supported.


OpenChrom is a software application to edit and analyze mass spectrometric chromatographic data. It is extensible in many different ways, depending on the demands of the users or the analytical procedures and algorithms. It offers a customizable graphical user interface. The software is independent of the operating system, due to the fact that the Rich Client Platform is written in Java. OpenChrom is released under the Eclipse Public License 1.0 (EPL). There are no license constraints regarding extensions. They can be published using open source as well as proprietary licenses. OpenChrom is available free of charge at webcite.