Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry: Complementary Approaches to Analyze the Metabolome


  • Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pashan, Pune - 411008, Maharashtra
  • Department of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pashan, Pune - 411008, Maharashtra



Cryoprobe, Metabolic Imaging, Metabolomics, Signal-to-Noise, Time-of-Flight


Over the last decade, the rapid advancement of analytical technologies has made it feasible for researchers to target a wider area of any given biological sample. Metabolomics, an emerging field of scientific research, involves studying the endogenously synthesized small molecules within the biological system. This recently developed ‘omics' platform has been used for the discovery of disease-specific biomarkers; and for providing deep insights into the etiology and progression of a variety of endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Addison's disease, etc. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry (MS) are the two most powerful and information-rich analytical platforms that have currently been employed in metabolomics studies worldwide. The unique properties of NMR, including a high degree of reproducibility, relative ease of sample preparation, highly quantitative nature, and inherently non-destructive nature, have made it an eminent technique useful in several disciplines of metabolomics. However, a major drawback of this approach is its low sensitivity (≥ 1 μM) when compared with MS. Conversely, MS has the potential to detect the metabolites in the femtomolar to the attomolar range and has a higher resolution (∼103-104) relative to NMR, but quantification and sample preparation are a little cumbersome. This mini-review discusses the assets and limitations of NMR and MS approaches for metabolomic studies and the latest emerging technological developments that are being used to cope with these limitations in metabolic applications.


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How to Cite

Yousf, S., & Chugh, J. (2021). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Mass Spectrometry: Complementary Approaches to Analyze the Metabolome. Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction, 24(1), 21–30.



Review Article