The most popular metabolomics assays

Interest in metabolomics has grown noticeably during the last few years. Hence, we receive more and more requests for studies from researchers who are not well aware about various techniques, approaches and assays in metabolomics. TMIC currently offers about 60 targeted and untargeted assays, and we would like to highlight here some of the most popular metabolomics assays. While we are trying to navigate you through our assays with absolute or relative quantitation, we strongly encourage to contact us directly for further details, as every study has its unique objectives, and may require customization.

First of all, in contrast to most of the service providers in the metabolomics area, TMIC offers assays with absolute quantification, accurate relative quantitation, and semi-quantitative assays. So, it is important to distinguish between the discovery projects maximizing the number of metabolites and features, and the projects requiring precise quantitation of the metabolites of interest. We also have a variety of platforms and have both MS-based and NMR-based assays. TMIC has the capabilities to satisfy all the needs – and this article’s aim is to help you to navigate through our portfolio.

We would like to talk here briefly about the following assays:

Global (Untargeted) Metabolomics by Chemical Isotope Labeling (CIL) LC-MS is a unique assay

Global (Untargeted) Metabolomics by Chemical Isotope Labeling (CIL) LC-MS is a unique assay developed in Dr. Liang Li’s lab. This assay provides an accurate relative quantitation and can cover up to 10,000 metabolites per sample. The whole metabolome is analyzed by combining the analysis of four submetabolomes: amine/phenol, carboxyl, carbonyl, and hydroxyl submetabolome. The combined results from four channels are able to cover 85% to 95% of the entire chemical space of the metabolome.

Clinical Biomarker Assay 2.0 (TMIC MEGA kit assay) – is the more advanced version of Dr. Wishart’s Node Clinical Biomarker Assay 1.0 (TMIC PRIME kit assay). This new assay allows absolute quantification of up to 600 metabolites (in comparison to 143 offered in the previous version). This LC-MS based assay is validated for blood, serum and plasma samples, and covers up to 21 chemical families, including: amino acids, organic acids, vitamins, and lipids.

TMIC MEGA Clinical Biomarker Assay 2.0 and Microbiome Metabolites Assay
LC-MS assay workflow with TMIC MEGA kit

The same TMIC MEGA kit is utilized in Microbiome Metabolism Assay (TMIC MEGA). This analysis allows absolute quantification of up to 900 metabolites and ratios in fecal material, and up to 350 metabolites and ratios in urine (validated for urine, fecal extract, and more). The workflow for both LC-MS assays with TMIC MEGA kit is outlined in the picture above.

Another microbiome-studies related assay is the Microbial Metabolite Assay (MMA) provided by Dr. Li Node (University of Alberta). This assay provides accurate relative quantification of 851 microbiota-related metabolites and microbiota-host-related endogenous metabolites. They include short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids, bile acids, nucleosides, benzoates, and uremic compounds, tryptophan metabolism, tyrosine metabolism, phenylalanine metabolism, vitamins and derivatives, polyamines, neurotransmitters (microbiota-related metabolites), and amino acid derivatives, glycolysis, TCA cycle, and other energy metabolism, amino acid metabolisms (microbiota-host-related endogenous metabolites).

Microbial Metabolite Assay (MMA)
 TMIC Plant Assay

The other assay which is helpful to highlight is TMIC Plant Assay. This assay allows identification and absolute quantification of 169 different metabolites commonly present in plant samples. The panel includes 24 organic acids, 21 amino acids, 20 amines, 40 acylcarnitines, 24 phosphatidylcholines, 19 polyphenols, 10 sphingolipids, as well as phenols, sugars and other compounds. In addition to TMIC Plant Assay, Dr. Wishart’s Node offers additional assays which might be of interest to those working with plants, crops and agriculture: LC-MS Assay for Terpenoids (targeted analysis of 43 terpenoids), LC-MS Assay for Pesticides (targeted analysis of 72 pesticides), NMR Assay for Plant Metabolomics (targeted analysis of up to 100 plant specific metabolites), Cannabinoids Assay (targeted analysis of 13 cannabinoids), LC-MS Assay for Sugar Alcohols and more.

For clients interested in lipidomics, we have both targeted and untargeted lipidomics assays. Global (Untargeted) Lipidomics Profiling by Dr. Liang Li team typically detects, identifies and relatively quantifies more than 5,000 lipids for positive ionization and more than 2,000 lipids for negative ionization. Deuterated internal lipid standards belonging to 15 different lipid classes are used for data normalization, providing accurate relative quantification. The study covers all sample preparation, lipid extraction, LC-MS analysis, data analysis, lipid identification, data normalization, and statistical analysis (PCA, PLS-DA, Volcano plots). If an absolute quantification is required, Dr. Wishart’s Node offers Targeted Lipidomics assay, with 150-200 metabolites identification and quantification possibility.

Global (Untargeted) Lipidomics Profiling
Bile Acid Analysis: Synthesis and Metabolism Assay

Bile acids are the compounds of significant interest, and TMIC has currently two bile acid assays with an absolute quantification. It is a more comprehensive Bile Acid Analysis: Synthesis and Metabolism Assay, provided by Dr. Goodlett Node in the University of Victoria, and Bile Acids (Biocrates Bile Acids Kit) by Dr. Wishart’s Node in the University of Alberta. The Synthesis and Metabolism Assay allows absolute quantification of 76 unconjugated, taurine- and glycine-conjugated bile acids and bile acid synthesis intermediates by UPLC-MRM/MS. It covers the following metabolic pathways: bile acid synthesis and metabolism, gut co-metabolism, cholesterol metabolism, blood-brain barrier. Bile Acids with the biocrates kit quantifies 20 human- and mouse-specific bile acids. And while considering an assay for the bile acids, keep in mind that a number of them are included in Microbial Metabolite Assay (MMA) by L. Li’s Node at the University of Alberta

In addition to MS-based assays, we have an access to NMR facilities through our University of Alberta Nodes: Drs. D. Wishart and M. Overduin. We recently discussed the benefits and importance of NMR in the future of Metabolomics (which is so-called “sleeping giant”, which has to be awakened). Depending on the sample type, NMR Analysis by Dr. Wishart Node supports absolute quantification of up to 340 metabolites. This targeted analysis can be used for the identification and quantitation of water-soluble metabolite classes including amino acids, sugars, alcohols, organic acids, amines, TCA cycle intermediates, and short chain fatty acids

Metabolomics Publications With Dr. Wishart’s Node

Last but not least: Central Carbon Metabolism assay by Dr. Goodlett’s Node in the University of Victoria. Assay identifies and quantifies 82 metabolites, including glucose, sugar phosphates, CoAs, enzyme co-factors, TCA cycle carboxylic acids, phosphocarboxylic acids and major nucleotides involved in Central Carbon Metabolism (CCM) and glucosamine metabolism by UPLC-MRM/MS.

Though we hope that this summary is a useful introduction into our capabilities, please note that we briefly introduced to you only about 10 of over 60 assays we offer. If you are interested in the lists of compounds or the prices for those assays: all information is available on the website. (Note that the prices are listed in Canadian dollars.) In addition, our team is always here to help you: we are one call or one email away from you.

The summary is prepared by Dr. S. Sapelnikova

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