Illuminating the dark metabolome to advance the molecular characterisation of biological systems

Jones, O 2018, 'Illuminating the dark metabolome to advance the molecular characterisation of biological systems', Metabolomics, vol. 14, no. 8, pp. 1-11.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Illuminating the dark metabolome to advance the molecular characterisation of biological systems
Author(s) Jones, O
Year 2018
Journal name Metabolomics
Volume number 14
Issue number 8
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Publisher Springer
Abstract Background The latest version of the Human Metabolome Database (v4.0) lists 114,100 individual entries. Typically, however, metabolomics studies identify only around 100 compounds and many features identified in mass spectra are listed only as 'unknown compounds'. The lack of ability to detect all metabolites present, and fully identify all metabolites detected (the dark metabolome) means that, despite the great contribution of metabolomics to a range of areas in the last decade, a significant amount of useful information from publically funded studies is being lost or unused each year. This loss of data limits our potential gain in knowledge and understanding of important research areas such as cell biology, environmental pollution, plant science, food chemistry and health and biomedical research. Metabolomics therefore needs to develop new tools and methods for metabolite identification to advance as a field. Aim of review In this critical review, some potential issues with metabolite identification are identified and discussed. New and novel emerging technologies and tools which may contribute to expanding the number of compounds identified in metabolomics studies (thus illuminating the dark metabolome) are reviewed. The aim is to stimulate debate and research in the molecular characterisation of biological systems to drive forward metabolomic research. Key scientific concepts of review The work specifically discusses dynamic nuclear polarisation nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (DNP-NMR), non-proton NMR active nuclei, two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2DLC) and Raman spectroscopy (RS). It is suggested that developing new methods for metabolomics with these techniques could lead to advances in the field and better characterisation of biological systems.
Subject Separation Science
Analytical Biochemistry
Keyword(s) Method development
Gas chromatography
Liquid chromatography
Mass spectrometry
Dark metabolome
Copyright notice © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
ISSN 1573-3882
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