Nowadays, metabolomics data, when combined with other “omics” data, can provide important information regarding systems biology. Acquiring a comprehensive untargeted metabolome snapshot of complex sample matrices requires proper sample preparation, and access to sophisticated analytical instrumentation such as mass spectrometry. In metabolomics, sample preparation has substantial influence on the quality of the obtained metabolome profile. To achieve a real snapshot of the metabolome, the analysis method must be capable of inhibiting metabolite interconversion by immediately quenching all metabolome activity. Application of solid-phase microextraction (SPME), particularly in its in vivo set up, when undertaken in conjunction with a conscious selection of coating type based on the chosen sample matrix and the physicochemical properties of the analytes under study, is capable of providing extraction of representative metabolomes for many biological matrices. Metabolomes identified by SPME include low-abundance species and short-lived or unstable metabolites hardly captured by traditional extraction techniques. SPME coupled to liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry has recently been introduced as an innovative alternative technique that integrates sampling, sample preparation, and extraction for metabolic profiling and isolation of candidate biomarkers. This chapter presents a detailed protocol for microbial metabolome analysis of Escherichia coli as a model organism, applying the high-throughput SPME-LC-MS workflow.
High-throughput analysis Metabolomics LC-MS SPME Sample preparation Automation E. coli
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The authors thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada (IRCPJ 184412-10 050165, IRCPJ 184412-10 050165) for financial support.
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