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Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Quantification and deconvolution of asymmetric LC-MS peaks using the bi-Gaussian mixture model and statistical model selection

Tianwei Yu* and Hesen Peng

Author Affiliations

Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2010, 11:559  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-11-559

Published: 12 November 2010



Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is one of the major techniques for the quantification of metabolites in complex biological samples. Peak modeling is one of the key components in LC-MS data pre-processing.


To quantify asymmetric peaks with high noise level, we developed an estimation procedure using the bi-Gaussian function. In addition, to accurately quantify partially overlapping peaks, we developed a deconvolution method using the bi-Gaussian mixture model combined with statistical model selection.


Using extensive simulations and real data, we demonstrated the advantage of the bi-Gaussian mixture model over the Gaussian mixture model and the method of kernel smoothing combined with signal summation in peak quantification and deconvolution. The method is implemented in the R package apLCMS: webcite.