Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena and their colleagues from the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague have developed a new method to quickly and reliably detect metabolites, such as sugars, fatty acids, amino acids and other organic substances from plant or animal tissue samples.
One drop of blood - less than one micro liter - is sufficient to identify certain blood related metabolites. The new technique, called MAILD, is based on classical mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/MS) and enables researchers to measure a large number of metabolites in biological samples, opening doors for targeted and high-throughput metabolomics. Because of its versatile applications, also in medical diagnostics, the invention is protected by patent. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Early Edition, June 11, 2009).
Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique used to elucidate the molecular composition and structure of chemical compounds. In the last two decades mass spectrometry found vast applications in biology, especially for analyzing of large biomolecules. Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization (MALDI), wherein bio-molecules (e.g. proteins) are co-crystallized with a chemical substance called a matrix subsequently irradiated with a laser leads to the formation of protein ions which can be analyzed and detected.
Instead of improving the search for the "needles", i.e. metabolites such as sugars, fatty acids, amino acids, and other organic acids, the scientists began to alter the matrices with which the samples were applied so that no more interfering matrix-related ions were generated. In other words: they tried to remove the haystack to make the needles visible. The researchers succeeded with the help of physical and organic chemistry, based on the Brønsted-Lowry acid-base theory, and formulated conditions for rational selection of matrices that did not generate interfering ions but provided rich mass spectra of particular kinds of metabolites in real samples.
With the new experimental protocols they called "Matrix-Assisted Ionization/Laser Desorption - MAILD", the scientists were able to quickly and reliably determine more than 100 different analytes from single and small-sized samples. "The analysis of a very small plant leaf sample from Arabidopsis thaliana, in fact a circle area with a radius of just about 0.5 millimeter, revealed over a hundred analyte peaks, among which 46 metabolites could be identified. Interestingly, among them were eight of a total of eleven intermediates of the citric acid cycle, which is vital for most organisms," says Rohit Shroff, a native of India, who was a PhD student at the "International Max Planck Research School" and conducted the experiments.
The new MAILD method allows measurements from diverse biological and medical materials. Apart from plant and insect samples the scientists also studied a clinical sample: they were able to determine a wide range of blood-specific organic acids in one drop of human blood, smaller than a micro liter. In medical diagnostics such measurements are still conducted with intricate methods. If the scientists succeed in not only identifying, but also quantifying the metabolites, MAILD could develop into a fast method for medical and biological diagnostics. [JWK]Original Publication:
Dr. Jan-Wolfhard Kellmann | idw
How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology