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Review of recent developments in GC–MS approaches to metabolomics-based research

Beale, D.J., Pinu, F.R., Kouremenos, K.A., Poojary, M.M., Narayana, V.K., Boughton, B.A.ORCID: 0000-0001-6342-9814, Kanojia, K., Dayalan, S., Jones, O.A.H. and Dias, D.A. (2018) Review of recent developments in GC–MS approaches to metabolomics-based research. Metabolomics, 14 . Article number: 152.

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Metabolomics aims to identify the changes in endogenous metabolites of biological systems in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This is accomplished through untargeted, semi-targeted and targeted based approaches. Untargeted and semi-targeted methods are typically applied in hypothesis-generating investigations (aimed at measuring as many metabolites as possible), while targeted approaches analyze a relatively smaller subset of biochemically important and relevant metabolites. Regardless of approach, it is well recognized amongst the metabolomics community that gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) is one of the most efficient, reproducible and well used analytical platforms for metabolomics research. This is due to the robust, reproducible and selective nature of the technique, as well as the large number of well-established libraries of both commercial and ‘in house’ metabolite databases available.

Aim of review
This review provides an overview of developments in GC–MS based metabolomics applications, with a focus on sample preparation and preservation techniques. A number of chemical derivatization (in-time, in-liner, offline and microwave assisted) techniques are also discussed. Electron impact ionization and a summary of alternate mass analyzers are highlighted, along with a number of recently reported new GC columns suited for metabolomics. Lastly, multidimensional GC–MS and its application in environmental and biomedical research is presented, along with the importance of bioinformatics.

Key scientific concepts of review
The purpose of this review is to both highlight and provide an update on GC–MS analytical techniques that are common in metabolomics studies. Specific emphasis is given to the key steps within the GC–MS workflow that those new to this field need to be aware of and the common pitfalls that should be looked out for when starting in this area.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
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