Untargeted LC/MS-based metabolic phenotyping (metabonomics/metabolomics): The state of the art.


Division of Computational and Systems Medicine, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


Liquid chromatography (LC) hyphenated to mass spectrometry is currently the most widely used means of determining metabolic phenotypes via both untargeted and targeted analysis. At present a range of analytical separations, including reversed-phase, hydrophilic interaction and ion-pair LC are employed to maximise metabolome coverage with ultra (high) performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) increasingly displacing conventional high performance liquid chromatography because of the need for short analysis times and high peak capacity in such applications. However, it is widely recognized that these methodologies do not entirely solve the problems facing researchers trying to perform comprehensive metabolic phenotyping and in addition to these "routine" approaches there are continuing investigations of alternative separation methods including 2-dimensional/multi column approaches. These involve either new stationary phases or multidimensional combinations of the more conventional materials currently used, as well as application of miniaturization or "new" approaches such as supercritical HP and UHP- chromatographic separations. There is also a considerable amount of interest in the combination of chromatographic and ion mobility separations, with the latter providing both an increase in resolution and the potential to provide additional structural information via the determination of molecular collision cross section data. However, key problems remain to be solved including ensuring quality, comparability across different laboratories and the ever present difficulty of identifying unknowns.


Ion mobility spectrometry,Liquid chromatography,Mass spectrometry,Metabolomics,Metabonomics,Supercritical fluid chromatography,

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