Metabolomics in systems biology

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2003;54:669-89. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.54.031902.135014.


The primary aim of "omic" technologies is the nontargeted identification of all gene products (transcripts, proteins, and metabolites) present in a specific biological sample. By their nature, these technologies reveal unexpected properties of biological systems. A second and more challenging aspect of omic technologies is the refined analysis of quantitative dynamics in biological systems. For metabolomics, gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry are well suited for coping with high sample numbers in reliable measurement times with respect to both technical accuracy and the identification and quantitation of small-molecular-weight metabolites. This potential is a prerequisite for the analysis of dynamic systems. Thus, metabolomics is a key technology for systems biology. The aim of this review is to (a) provide an in-depth overview about metabolomic technology, (b) explore how metabolomic networks can be connected to the underlying reaction pathway structure, and (c) discuss the need to investigate integrative biochemical networks.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Models, Biological
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Plants / classification*
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Systems Theory
  • Terminology as Topic