Chapter

Plant Metabolic Networks

pp 39-69

Date:

Metabolite Measurements

  • Ute RoessnerAffiliated withSchool of Botany, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, The University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , Diane M. BecklesAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, University of California, The University of Melbourne

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Metabolites are the products of enzyme-catalyzed reactions that occur naturally within living cells. Metabolites are synthesized by the cell for the purpose of performing a useful, if not indispensable, function in the maintenance and survival of the cells by, for example, contributing to its infrastructure or energy requirements. To do so, they have to be recognized and acted upon by enzymes, which will change the properties of the metabolites by means of a chemical reaction. Therefore, the properties of metabolites and their functionality as they interact within their natural environment determine the chemistry of life. Thus, it can be argued that the metabolome in a biological system represents the final result of the expression of multiple genes in a cell. The analysis of metabolites has been an important part of any biological sciences. A large number of technologies have been developed for the analysis of metabolites in order to study metabolism in great detail. Today, the accumulation and combination of knowledge on analytical biochemistry from the last 50 years is commonly called metabolomics, and large investments are made to its application toward developments of new technologies with greater sensitivity, comprehensiveness, robustness, and higher throughput.