Signal pattern plot: a simple tool for time-dependent metabolomics studies by 1H NMR spectroscopy

  • René Bachmann
  • Adelis Jilani
  • Hasnaa Ibrahim
  • Dominic Bahmann
  • Christina Lang
  • Markus Fischer
  • Bernward Bisping
  • Thomas HacklEmail author
Research Paper


We show an alternative way to visualize time course NMR data without the application of multivariate data analysis, based on the temporal change of the metabolome of hazelnuts after mold infestation. Fresh hazelnuts were inoculated with eight different natural mold species and the growth was studied over a period of 14 days. The data were plotted in a color-coded scheme showing metabolic changes as a function of chemical shift, which we named signal pattern plot. This plot graphically displays alteration (trend) of a respected signal over time and allows visual interpretation in a simple manner. Changes are compared with a reference sample stored under identical conditions as the infected nuts. The plot allows, at a glance, the recognition of individual landmarks specific to a sample group as well as common features of the spectra. Each sample reveals an individual signal pattern. The plot facilitates the recognition of signals that belong to biological relevant metabolites. Betaine and five signals were identified that specifically changed upon mold infestation.

Graphical abstract


Metabolomics Chemometrics 1H NMR spectroscopy Time course data 



The authors thank Vera Priegnitz and Claudia Wontorra for their support in sample measurement.


This study was performed within the project “Food Profiling – Development of analytical tools for the authentication of food”. This project (Support Code 2816500914) is supported by means of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) by a decision of the German Bundestag (parliament). Project support is provided by the Federal Institute for Agriculture and Food (BLE) within the scope of the program for promoting innovation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2019_2055_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1279 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Organic ChemistryUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Hamburg School of Food Science - Institute of Food ChemistryUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Hamburg School of Food Science - Biocenter Klein Flottbek (Food Microbiology and Biotechnology)HamburgGermany

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