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Environ Sci Technol. 2003 Nov 1;37(21):4982-9.

NMR-based metabolomics: a powerful approach for characterizing the effects of environmental stressors on organism health.

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Department of Environmental Toxicology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA. MRViant@UCDavis.Edu


It is important to assess the chronic effects of chemical, physical, and biological stressors on organisms in the environment. Appropriate methods must enable rapid, inexpensive, and multibiomarker analyses of organism health. Here we investigate withering syndrome in red abalone (Haliotis rufescens), an important wild and farmed shellfish species along the Pacific coast, using a metabolomic approach that combines the metabolic profiling capabilities of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) with pattern recognition methods. Foot muscle, digestive gland, and hemolymph samples were collected from healthy, stunted, and diseased abalone, and the extracts were analyzed by NMR. Following spectral preprocessing, principal components analyses of the metabolite profiles were conducted. Our results confirm that NMR-based metabolomics can successfully distinguish the biochemical profiles of the three groups of animals, in every type of tissue or biofluid studied. Furthermore, this discovery-based approach successfully identified novel metabolic biomarker profiles associated with withering syndrome. The application of these methods for investigating other environmental stressors is discussed, as are the advantages of NMR-based metabolomics for biomonitoring, particularly in conjunction with gene and protein expression profiling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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