Lipidomics is a subspecialty of metabolomics that focuses on water insoluble metabolites that form membrane barriers. Most lipidomic databases catalog lipids from common model organisms, like humans or Escherichia coli. However, model organisms' lipid profiles show surprisingly little overlap with those of specialized pathogens, creating the need for organism-specific lipidomic databases. Here we review rapid progress in lipidomic platform development with regard to chromatography, detection and bioinformatics. We emphasize new methods of comparative lipidomics, which use aligned datasets to identify lipids changed after introducing a biological variable. These new methods provide an unprecedented ability to broadly and quantitatively describe lipidic change during biological processes and identify changed lipids with low error rates.
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