NMR-based metabolomics with enhanced sensitivity†
NMR-based metabolomics, which emerged along with mass spectrometry techniques, is the preferred method for studying metabolites in medical research and food industries. However, NMR techniques suffer from inherently low sensitivity, regardless of their superior reproducibility. To overcome this, we made two beneficial modifications: we detuned the probe to reach a position called “Spin Noise Tuning Optimum” (SNTO), and we replaced the conventional cylindrical 5 mm NMR tube with an electric field component-optimized shaped tube. We found that concerted use of both modifications can increase the sensitivity (signal to noise ratio per unit volume) and detection of metabolites and decrease the measurement time by order of magnitude. In this study, we demonstrate and discuss the achieved signal enhancement of metabolites on model non-human (bovine serum, amino acid standard mixture) and human urine samples.