Analytical Techniques for Material-limited Metabolomics: Recent Developments and Applications
Traditionally metabolomics has focused upon non-invasive high-volume samples such as blood products, urine and faeces. These matrices however only offer a global analysis of the metabolome of an organism. This means that tissue or even cell specific metabolome variation may be diluted within these large volume biofluids. In order to uncover highly specific metabolomic markers of disease biopsy-sized tissues or single cells offer a potential solution. However, these are extremely biomass limited due to their invasive nature and the fact that other clinical tests may be required on the same sample. Furthermore, biofluid limited samples such as infant blood samples, sweat or dried blood spots offer the opportunity to investigate disease states in young children and babies and open up the possibility to collect dried blood spots from around the world, which can then be posted back to a lab for analysis. As such, technical analytical solutions must be found to enable the analysis of these biomass and volume limited samples. In this chapter, an overview is given of the state-of-the-art analytical separation techniques and workflows for material-limited metabolomics.