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Investigating Metabolomic Time of Death Using a Novel High-Resolution Orbitrap-based GC-MS/MS System

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  • Published: Oct 1, 2015
  • Author: Karl Burgess and Cristian CojocariuThermo
  • Categories: Gas Chromatography / Proteomics & Genomics / HPLC / Base Peak / Proteomics
thumbnail image: <font color=red>Webinar<br/>Now available on-demand</font><br/>Investigating Metabolomic Time of Death Using a Novel High-Resolution Orbitrap-based GC-MS/MS System

Investigating Metabolomic Time of Death Using a Novel
High-Resolution Orbitrap-based GC-MS/MS System

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Broadcast on September 17, 2015

This webinar is now available on-demand.
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Metabolomics aims to characterize and quantify the complete small molecule complement, or metabolome, of a biological system. The metabolome consists of a diverse mixture of small molecules, including amino acids, sugars and phosphosugars, biogenic amines and lipids.

Untargeted metabolomics is exceptionally challenging because one must identify and quantify hundreds of different compounds with limited a priori knowledge of the metabolites. These studies benefit from a detection system that is not only capable of untargeted, sensitive detection of specific molecules, but can also provide accurate mass information for confident confirmation and structural elucidation of unknowns.

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is routinely used for metabolomics applications due to its chromatographic resolution, reproducibility, peak capacity, and convenient spectral libraries. GC provides excellent chromatographic separation capability for biomarker discovery using untargeted metabolomics, but has previously been hampered by the lack of high-end mass spectrometry support to analyze very complex samples, such as mammalian muscle tissue.

One area in which this type of untargeted metabolomics might be beneficial is in forensic investigation of post-mortem interval (PMI). Current methods to determine PMI are inaccurate and primarily based on visual inspection of the body. Untargeted metabolomics has the potential to identify a robust biomarker for PMI that might be used in a laboratory-based method to assist in these investigations.

A GC-MS configuration using an Orbitrap-based MS detector enables the ultra-high mass resolution, sub-ppm mass accuracy, large dynamic range and scan rate needed for the efficient quantitive analysis of highly complex metabolomic samples to make determination of PMI metabolic biomarkers possible.

This work demonstrates:

  • The application of a complete untargeted metabolomics workflow using a novel Thermo Scientific™ Orbitrap™ MS-based GC to detect biomarkers for time of death in a rat model.
  • The high mass resolution, sub-ppm mass accuracy, a large dynamic range, and a scan rate commensurate with the efficient quantitative analysis of highly complex metabolomic samples that Orbitrap technology provides.
  • A laboratory-based method, using a robust biomarker for PMI, would assist forensic investigation.

Key learning objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Use high resolution and high mass accuracy to investigate metabolic changes in complex samples.
  • Apply a complete untargeted metabolomics workflow using a novel Thermo Scientific™ Orbitrap™ MS-based GC to detect biomarkers.
  • Achieve higher throughput analyses using automation, assess reproducibility and account for variation in large scale studies.

Who should attend?

  • Analysts and laboratory managers from both routine commercial and research laboratories.

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