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Metabolomics

Page Index

  1. What is Metabolomics
  2. Metabolomic Techniques
  3. Application Areas
  4. Separation and Detection Methods
  5. Strategies
  6. Chromatographic Columns used
  7. Innovative Tools for Metabolomics
  8. Reference

 

What is Metabolomics

  • Metabolomics is the study of chemical processes which involve metabolites. Metabolites are small molecules present in the blood, tissues and urine. Metabolomics is about the pertains to the study of the unique chemical fingerprints left behind by cellular processes to understand the health /disease state of an organisms. Metabolomics is an bio analytical experimental technique to elucidate better understanding in medicine, biology, environmental and food science
  • Metabolomics is defined as the quantitative measurement of all low molecular mass metabolites in an organism’s cell at a specific time under specific environmental conditions.

    A metabolome represents the complete set of small metabolites which are the intermediates and products of metabolism, found in a biological cell, tissue, organ or organism.

    In general, for metabolomics a metabolite is usually defined as a molecule of less than 1 kDa in size.

 

Metabolomic Techniques

Targeted Metabolomic Analysis:

    The compounds in a given bio-fluid or tissue extract are identified and quantified by comparing the spectrum of interest to a library of reference spectra. This is generally used for the determination of a few specific know metabolites

Metabolomic Profiling:

    This involves a qualitative and quantitative determination of a particular class of metabolites or compounds  from a specific metabolomic pathway

Metabolomic Fingerprinting:

    This compares the pattern of metabolites and help to distinguish between samples based on the metabolomites characterised

 

Application Areas

General

Today Metabolomics analysis is conducted world-wide in Universities, University hospitals Large public research organization and in the laboratories of very large multinational enterprises that are active in Biomarkers Discovery, Drug Discovery, Toxicology Testing, Nutrigenomics and Clinical & Preclinical Studies.  Of particular interest are complex indication such as Oncology, Neurology and Cardiology

Clinical Metabolomics:

This is of interest to the medical science as it may lead to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Finding unique paterns of metabolites could aid the identification of a target enzyme or protein (Biomarker)for the disease, resulting in faster drug development.

Drug Discovery

Important for drug target identification & validation and optimization & prioritization of diagnostic approaches for oncology research.

Toxicology Metabolomics:

Profiling of urine and blood samples can detect physiological changes caused by toxic chemicals. This is used in the pharmaceutical industry for toxicity  testing of potential drug candidates.

Nutrition Metabolomics

Can be used for physiological monitoring in food intervention or diet challenges studies. Included in Nutrigenomics

Food Metabolomics

Is used as an aid to developing high performing crop varieties, e. g. it provides biomarkers  of flavour in tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables. It is also used in food quality testing and the detection of food adulteration.

Environmental Metabolomics

Is used for used to study the interaction of organisms with the environment and has applications in the field of ecology and ecophysiology.

 

Separation and Detection Methods

Separation methods

Gas chromatography, (GC)
especially when interfaced with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), is one of the most widely used and powerful methods. It offers very high chromatographic resolution, but requires chemical derivatisation for many biomolecules: only volatile chemicals can be analysed without derivatisation. Some modern instruments allow '2D' chromatography, using a short polar column after the main analytical column, which increases the resolution still further.

 High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
Compared to GC, HPLC has lower chromatographic resolution, but it does have the advantage that a much wider range of analytes can potentially be measured.

 Capillary electrophoresis (CE).
CE has a higher theoretical separation efficiency than HPLC, and is suitable for use with a wider range of metabolite classes than is GC. As for all electrophoretic techniques, it is most appropriate for charged analytes.

Detection methods

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

To elucidate chemical structure of the target compound

Mass spectrometry (MS)
Is used to identify and to quantify metabolites after separation by GC, HPLC (LC-MS), or CE. GC-MS is the most 'natural' combination of the three, and was the first to be developed. In addition, mass spectral fingerprint libraries exist or can be developed that allow identification of a metabolite according to its fragmentation pattern. MS is both sensitive (although, particularly for HPLC-MS, sensitivity is more of an issue as it is affected by the charge on the metabolite, and can be subject to ion suppression artifacts) and can be very specific.

Direct injection MS
may be used to obtain metabolite mass profiles without any chromatographic separation. Using electrospray ionisation (ESI), mainly protonated or deprotonated ions are formed for each species, with very little fragmentation. A fingerprint spectrum of metabolites is obtained with metabolites being separated be accurate molecular masses

Surface Base Mass Analysis

 

Strategies

Industry evolution

Metabolomics is a fairly young science that started around 2000.In the early phase of a new technology standard techniques are employed. Standard techniques include gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography, and capillary electrophoresis. HPLC holds the dominant share in the metabolomics market. The following detection technologies are being employed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Mass Spectrometry and Surface Base Mass Analysis

 As times goes by techniques need to be fine tuned and so special more intelligent equipment and tools emerge.  Nobody can predict what type of equipment and tools emerge because application companies work together with their preferred partners under confidential condition. After a certain time the new technology is emerging and sold to other potential application companies.  Some of the emerging technologies suddenly increase productivity manifold.

We have participated in the evolution and fine tuning of a number of advanced technologies together with partners. Partner selection in large research companies often starts at an early state starts by inviting the well known large system suppliers. They will make sure that the application company pays part of the technology development by relevant contracts. The application partner will also out source some research to Universities.  Regularly a insider in the application lab evolve his own new technology in competition with the chosen large system supplier. In a few cases the insider is financed by his employer with the idea that if the new technology becomes a success the Application company is able to participate in the commercialisation of the new technology. In the meantime some additional start up or service companies to offer additional ideas. The relation of large company collaborating with a small innovative enterprise is often a difficult construct since both have totally requirements.

Multivariate Analysis
Due to the complex nature of the metabolome, it is difficult to make a visual comparison of the large numbers of spectra and chromatograms. As a result, data analysis and interpretation is often accomplished using a chemometric approach, including using principle component analysis

 

Columns currently used

GC Columns you find here

RPC Columns you find here

HILIC Columns you find here

Speciality Columns

Innovative Tools for Metabolomics

 

Metabolomics is a fairly young science that started around 2000. The metabolomics market is segmented based on its application in different fields such as biomarkers discovery, drug discovery, toxicology testing, nutrigenomics, clinical studies etc. The drug discovery segment holds the dominant share in the metabolomics market due to its crucial role in drug target identification & validation and optimization & prioritization of diagnostic approaches for oncology research.

In the early phase of a new technology standard techniques are employed. Standard techniques include gas chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ultra performance liquid chromatography, and capillary electrophoresis. HPLC holds the dominant share in the metabolomics market. The following detection technologies are being employed Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Mass Spectrometry and Surface Base Mass Analysis

 As times goes by techniques need to be fine tuned and so special more intelligent equipment and tools emerge.  Nobody can predict what type of equipment and tools emerge because application companies work together with their preferred partners under confidential condition. After a certain time the new technology is emerging and sold to other potential application companies.  Some of the emerging technologies suddenly increase productivity manifold.

Today Metabolomics analysis is conducted world-wide in Universities, University hospitals Large public research organization and in the laboratories of very large multinational enterprises that are active in Biomarkers Discovery, Drug Discovery, Toxicology Testing, Nutrigenomics and Clinical & Preclinical Studies.  Of particular interest are complex indication such as Oncology, Neurology and Cardiology

 

 

 

 

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