Methods, applications and concepts of metabolite profiling: Primary metabolism

  • Dirk Steinhauser
  • Joachim Kopka
Part of the Experientia Supplementum book series (EXS, volume 97)


In the 1990s the concept of a comprehensive analysis of the metabolic complement in biological systems, termed metabolomics or alternately metabonomics, was established as the last of four cornerstones for phenotypic studies in the post-genomic era. With genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic technologies in place and metabolomic phenotyping under rapid development all necessary tools appear to be available today for a fully functional assessment of biological phenomena at all major system levels of life. This chapter attempts to describe and discuss crucial steps of establishing and maintaining a gas chromatography/electron impact ionization/mass spectrometry (GC-EI-MS)-based metabolite profiling platform. GC-EI-MS can be perceived as the first and exemplary profiling technology aimed at simultaneous and non-biased analysis of primary metabolites from biological samples. The potential and constraints of this profiling technology are among the best understood. Most problems are solved as well as pitfalls identified. Thus GC-EI-MS serves as an ideal example for students and scientists who intend to enter the field of metabolomics. This chapter will be biased towards GC-EI-MS analyses but aims at discussing general topics, such as experimental design, metabolite identification, quantification and data mining.


Metabolite Profile Mass Fragment Primary Metabolism Detector Reading Isoascorbic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag/Switzerland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk Steinhauser
    • 1
  • Joachim Kopka
    • 1
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant PhysiologyPotsdam-GolmGermany

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