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Method development in high-performance liquid chromatography for high-throughput profiling and metabonomic studies of biofluid samples.

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Central Analytical Science Unit, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, P.O. Box 114, 3130 AC, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


"Metabonomics" has in the past decade demonstrated enormous potential in furthering the understanding of, for example, disease processes, toxicological mechanisms, and biomarker discovery. The same principles can also provide a systematic and comprehensive approach to the study of food ingredient impact on consumer health. However, "metabonomic" methodology requires the development of rapid, advanced analytical tools to comprehensively profile biofluid metabolites within consumers. Until now, NMR spectroscopy has been used for this purpose almost exclusively. Chromatographic techniques and in particular HPLC, have not been exploited accordingly. The main drawbacks of chromatography are the long analysis time, instabilities in the sample fingerprint and the rigorous sample preparation required. This contribution addresses these problems in the quest to develop generic methods for high-throughput profiling using HPLC. After a careful optimization process, stable fingerprints of biofluid samples can be obtained using standard HPLC equipment. A method using a short monolithic column and a rapid gradient with a high flow-rate has been developed that allowed rapid and detailed profiling of larger numbers of urine samples. The method can be easily translated into a slow, shallow-gradient high-resolution method for identification of interesting peaks by LC-MS/NMR. A similar approach has been applied for cell culture media samples. Due to the much higher protein content of such samples non-porous polymer-based small particle columns yielded the best results. The study clearly shows that HPLC can be used in metabonomic fingerprinting studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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