SMolESY: an efficient and quantitative alternative to on-instrument macromolecular 1H-NMR signal suppression†
One-dimensional (1D) proton-nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy is an established technique for measuring small molecules in a wide variety of complex biological sample types. It is demonstrably reproducible, easily automatable and consequently ideal for routine and large-scale application. However, samples containing proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and other macromolecules produce broad signals which overlap and convolute those from small molecules. NMR experiment types designed to suppress macromolecular signals during acquisition may be additionally performed, however these approaches add to the overall sample analysis time and cost, especially for large cohort studies, and fail to produce reliably quantitative data. Here, we propose an alternative way of computationally eliminating macromolecular signals, employing the mathematical differentiation of standard 1H-NMR spectra, producing small molecule-enhanced spectra with preserved quantitative capability and increased resolution. Our approach, presented in its simplest form, was implemented in a cheminformatic toolbox and successfully applied to more than 3000 samples of various biological matrices rich or potentially rich with macromolecules, offering an efficient alternative to on-instrument experimentation, facilitating NMR use in routine and large-scale applications.