The below mentioned article provides a short note on metabolomics.
Genomics is concerned with the total complement of genes and proteomics, the analysis of the entire set of proteins; metabolomics has been defined as the qualitative and quantitative measurement of all low molecular weight metabolites in a given sample, cell or tissue and the integration of the data in the context of gene function analysis.
In the ‘post-genomic era’, the genome expression profiling methods have come up at the level of the transcriptome, proteome and the metabolome.
The comprehensive measurements of the working parts of biological systems at these different levels of organisation will allow a full and global comparison of the differences between cell types, tissues, organs and whole organisms (plants, animals and microbes) to prove unknown aspects of gene function, physiology and metabolism.
Areas of Metabolomics:
Metabolic analysis can be divided into four general areas:
(a) Target compound analysis:
The quantification of specific metabolites.
(b) Metabolic profiling:
Quantitative and qualitative determination of a group of related compounds or of members of specific metabolic pathways.
Quantitative and qualitative analysis of all metabolites.
(d) Metabolic fingerprinting:
Sample classification by rapid global analysis, without extensive compound identification.
Techniques for Analysis of Metabolites:
As there are different kinds of metabolites available in cellular system so there is no single analytical method to detect the metabolite present in the extract. The detection also depends on the solvent used to get the tissue extract.
A mixture of techniques such as gas chromatography, high pressure liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis are used to separate different metabolites according to various chemical and physical properties.
Proton (1H) NMR can detect any metabolite containing hydrogen, gas chromatography (GC) provides high resolution compound separations and can be used in conjunction with a flame ionization detector (GC/FID) or a mass spectrometer (GC/MS). HPLC, with UV detection is a common method used for targeted analysis of plant materials and for metabolic profiling of individual classes.
LC/MS and LC/NMR are powerful instruments for the structure determination. Mass analyser like Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance instruments (FT-ICR-MS) can help to obtain the ‘mass profiles’ from the crude extract without any chromatographic separation.
Significance of Metabolomics:
Metabolomics is a relatively new discipline, and techniques for high throughput metabolic profiling are still under development. The advantage of metabolomic analysis is that the biochemical consequences of mutations, changes in the environment and treatment with drugs can be observed directly.