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Myrna Simpson, Dan Bearden


Environmental metabolomics is a rapidly growing area of research, and over the last decade the focus has been on organism responses to various types of environmental stressors (pollutants, nutritional shifts, and global climate change, for example). Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is playing a major role in this field of research because as an analytical detector, it is non- selective, sensitive, rapid, and quantitative. NMR is able to analyze biofluids or tissue extracts with nominal sample pre-treatment making it highly versatile for studying a wide range of samples from different types of environmental organisms. Most NMR- based environmental metabolomic studies focus on aqueous tissue extracts and as such, employ water suppression NMR methods to obtain 1H NMR spectra. The use of water suppression avoids the loss of information near the water region but also improves baseline quality and prevents signal distortion due to receiver overload. However, metabolite resonance overlap has prompted the investigation of using other methods, such as 1H-1H J-resolved (JRES), 1H-1H Correlation Spectroscopy (COSY) and Total Correlation Spectroscopy (TOCSY), and 1H-13C Heteronuclear Single Quantum Coherence (HSQC) NMR for metabolite identification. In addition to these pulse sequences, NMR instrument developments such as microcoil and cryogenically cooled probes, and flow-injection have increased the use of NMR as a fundamental discovery platform to study a wide array of environmental organisms. Future pulse program and hardware developments will only increase the versatility of NMR for environmental metabolomic studies, and NMR will continue to be a central tool for the foreseeable future.
NMR Spectroscopy: A Versatile Tool For Environmental Research
Publisher Info
Wiley, Malden, MA


Metabolomics, Magnetic Resonance, NMR


Simpson, M. and Bearden, D. (2013), ENVIRONMENTAL METABOLOMICS: NMR TECHNIQUES, Wiley, Malden, MA, [online], (Accessed April 19, 2024)
Created December 7, 2013, Updated October 12, 2021