Metabolomics is the study of the complete ensemble of all small molecules, including lipids, oligopeptides, nucleotides, amino acids, sugars, and metabolic intermediates, formed by numerous biosynthetic and catabolic pathways within a biological system or originating from host-specific microbes and the intake of food nutrients and pharmaceuticals, which are present in a cell, tissue, or biofluids such as urine, blood or saliva, in the context of a physiological or pathological condition.
TECHNIQUES UTILIZED IN THE ASSESSMENT OF METABOLITES
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry (MS) are recognized as the most powerful techniques used for the high-throughput investigation of the metabolome, with specific advantages and limitations.
Although MS-based approaches are the most sensitive of all techniques, the drawback of MS is the lower reproducibility than NMR spectroscopy. NMR-based metabolomics is a particularly powerful approach when applied to the high-throughput analysis of biofluids such as blood and urine. NMR spectroscopy has been confirmed to be a straightforward and useful technique for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of a wide range of components, including low-molecular-weight metabolites, lipids, and lipoproteins (different for size and composition).