, Volume 76, Issue 3, pp 495-511
Date: 31 Jul 2007

Metabolomics: current state and evolving methodologies and tools

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In recent years, metabolomics developed to an accepted and valuable tool in life sciences. Substantial improvements of analytical hardware allow metabolomics to run routinely now. Data are successfully used to investigate genotype–phenotype relations of strains and mutants. Metabolomics facilitates metabolic engineering to optimise mircoorganisms for white biotechnology and spreads to the investigation of biotransformations and cell culture. Metabolomics serves not only as a source of qualitative but also quantitative data of intra-cellular metabolites essential for the model-based description of the metabolic network operating under in vivo conditions. To collect reliable metabolome data sets, culture and sampling conditions, as well as the cells’ metabolic state, are crucial. Hence, application of biochemical engineering principles and method standardisation efforts become important. Together with the other more established omics technologies, metabolomics will strengthen its claim to contribute to the detailed understanding of the in vivo function of gene products, biochemical and regulatory networks and, even more ambitious, the mathematical description and simulation of the whole cell in the systems biology approach. This knowledge will allow the construction of designer organisms for process application using biotransformation and fermentative approaches making effective use of single enzymes, whole microbial and even higher cells.