In this preliminary study UPLC-ICP-MS has been utilized to profile a range of different bio-fluids and tissue extracts for sulfur and phosphorus-containing metabolites. Particular attention has been given to the livers, plasma and urine from lean and obese Zucker rats, with a view to differentiating between them based solely on their respective sulfur or phosphorus profiles and/or their total sulfur and phosphorus content. In addition, bile and tumour extracts have been analysed to observe the nature of their profiles. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time ICP-MS has been used in a non-targeted metabonomic study. Results have shown lower limits of quantification for sulfur and phosphorus methods of 0.25 and 0.15 ng on column with CVs of 14.7% and 10.9% respectively. Total phosphorus analysis of the Zucker rat aqueous liver extracts, plasma and urine has shown the pattern of phosphorus concentrations to be statistically significantly different in the lean and obese Zucker rats. Chromatographic separation of the Zucker rat organic liver extracts and plasma allowed further differentiation between the lean and obese rats using their phosphorus profiles alone. In conclusion, this preliminary study has shown the potential of UPLC-ICP-MS to quantitatively discriminate between different species biofluids, fluids and tissues based solely on their phosphorus or sulfur concentrations and/or metabolomes.
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