A general new method for calculating the molecular nonpolar surface for analysis of LC-MS data

Rabin Dhakal, Reed Nieman, Daniel C.A. Valente, Thiago M. Cardozo, Bhumika Jayee, Amna Aqdas, Wenjing Peng, Adelia J.A. Aquino, Yehia Mechref, Hans Lischka, Hanna Moussa

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3 Scopus citations


The accurate determination of the nonpolar surface area of glycans is vital when utilizing liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS) for structural characterization. A new approach for defining and computing nonpolar surface areas based on continuum solvation models (CS-NPSA) is presented. It is based on the classification of individual surface elements representing the solvent accessible surface used for the description of the polarized charge density elements in the CS models. Each element can be classified as polar or nonpolar according to a threshold value. The summation of the nonpolar elements then results in the NPSA leading to a very fine resolution of this surface. The further advantage of the CS-NPSA approach is the straightforward connection to standard quantum chemical methods and program packages. The method has been analyzed in terms of the contributions of different atoms to the NPSA. The analysis showed that not only atoms normally classified as nonpolar contributed to the NPSA, but at least partially also atoms next to polar atoms or N atoms. By virtue of the construction of the solvent accessible surface, atoms in the inner regions of a molecule can be automatically identified as not contributing to the NPSA. The method has been applied to a variety of examples such as the phenylbutanehydrazide series, model dextrans consisting of glucose units and biantennary glycans. Linear correlation of the CS-NPSA values with retention times obtained from liquid chromatographic separations measurements in the mentioned cases give excellent results and promise for more extended applications on a larger variety of compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116495
JournalInternational Journal of Mass Spectrometry
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Analysis of LC-MS data
  • Continuum solvation
  • Nonpolar surface area
  • Solvent accessible surface


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