High-Throughput Metabolomics: Isocratic and Gradient Mass Spectrometry-Based Methods

Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1978:13-26. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9236-2_2.


Metabolomics has emerged in the past decade as a highly attractive and impactful technique for phenotype-level profiling in diverse biological applications. Most recently, the dual developments of high-throughput analytical techniques along with dramatically increased sensitivity of high-resolution mass spectrometers have enabled the routine analysis of hundreds of unique samples per day. We have previously reported a robust 3 min isocratic metabolomics platform for the quantification of amino acids and the key pathways of central carbon and nitrogen metabolism. Building on this work, we describe here a 5 min reverse phase gradient followed by global, untargeted profiling of the hydrophilic metabolome. In addition to observing those metabolites measured in the 3 min run, the use of the longer gradient run here also allows for coverage of less polar compounds such as fatty acids and acylcarnitines, both key players in mitochondrial and lipid metabolism, without a significant sacrifice in throughput.

Keywords: Gradient; High-throughput; Isocratic; Mass spectrometry; Untargeted metabolomics.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / genetics
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Metabolome / genetics*
  • Metabolomics / methods*


  • Amino Acids
  • Fatty Acids