Metabolomic analysis-Addressing NMR and LC-MS related problems in human feces sample preparation.


Department of Pharmacognosy, Institute of Pharmacy, Center for Molecular Biosciences (CMBI), University of Innsbruck, Innrain 80/82, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address: [Email]


Metabolomics is a well-established field in fundamental clinical research with applications in different human body fluids. However, metabolomic investigations in feces are currently an emerging field. Fecal sample preparation is a demanding task due to high complexity and heterogeneity of the matrix. To gain access to the information enclosed in human feces it is necessary to extract the metabolites and make them accessible to analytical platforms like NMR or LC-MS. In this study different pre-analytical parameters and factors were investigated i.e. water content, different extraction solvents, influence of freeze-drying and homogenization, ratios of sample weight to extraction solvent, and their respective impact on metabolite profiles acquired by NMR and LC-MS. The results indicate that profiles are strongly biased by selection of extraction solvent or drying of samples, which causes different metabolites to be lost, under- or overstated. Additionally signal intensity and reproducibility of the measurement were found to be strongly dependent on sample pre-treatment steps: freeze-drying and homogenization lead to improved release of metabolites and thus increased signals, but at the same time induced variations and thus deteriorated reproducibility. We established the first protocol for extraction of human fecal samples and subsequent measurement with both complementary techniques NMR and LC-MS.


Extraction,Feces,HPLC-MS,Metabolomics,NMR,Sample preparation,