Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 3, pp 669–680 | Cite as

Mass-spectrometry-based microbial metabolomics: recent developments and applications

  • Peng Gao
  • Guowang XuEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. ABCs 13th Anniversary


Metabolomics is an omics technique aiming at qualitatively and quantitatively describing a metabolome by various analytical platforms. It is an indispensable component of modern systems biology. Microbial metabolomics can be roughly classified as metabolic footprint analysis and metabolic fingerprint analysis depending on the analyte origins. Both of them have been beneficial to microbiological research for different reasons. Mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques are popular analytical strategies prevailing in the metabolomics field. In this review, chromatography–mass-spectrometry-based microbial metabolomic analysis steps are summarized, including sample collection, metabolite extraction, instrument analysis, and data analysis. Moreover, their applications in some representative fields are discussed as examples. The aim of this review is to present briefly recent technical advances in mass-spectrometry-based analysis, and to highlight the value of modern applications of microbial metabolomics.

Graphical Abstract


Metabolomics Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry Capillary electrophoresis–mass spectrometry Microbial metabolomics 



The study was supported by the National Basic Research Program (2007CB707800) of the State Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Foundation (no. 21175132), the Creative Research Group Project (no. 21321064), and the Surface Project (81372695) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Separation Science for Analytical Chemistry, Dalian Institute of Chemical PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesDalianChina

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