Metabolomics is a rapidly developing post-genomic area of biological sciences which focuses on identification and measurement of time-related concentration, activity and flux of endogenous metabolites in cells. The metabolite pool information when coupled to genomics and/or proteomics facilitates the better understanding of intracellular biochemical processes. Given the growing importance of the metabolome in various aspects of biology, comprehensive experimental methodologies need to be developed and adopted. Analytical techniques for high-throughput metabolic profiling are still under development and no single technique is sufficient enough for the analysis of all different types of molecules.
Our group is currently involved in the development of an analytical method using ion mobility spectrometry-time of flight mass spectrometry (IM(tof)MS, for 2–dimensional metabolome analysis. We are also exploring the benefits of different ionization techniques, such as ESI and MALDI, for this purpose and plan to apply them to metabolic profiling of different biological samples. Preliminary results as applied to e-coli cells demonstrated that ESI-IM(tof)MS is a rapid, sensitive, and robust analytical method with a potential of high-throughput metabolic profiling.