Clearing the Clutter

Courtesy of ESAWhen it comes to metabolomics, there can be such a thing as too much information. The blossoming science typically uses mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to hunt for specific metabolites as markers of abnormal biological processes. "But those devices aren't geared to analyze samples like serum or urine that may have thousands of individual components," says Paul Gamache, director of applications development for ESA http://www.esainc.com in Chelmsford, Mass. "T

Bennett Daviss
May 23, 2004
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Courtesy of ESA

When it comes to metabolomics, there can be such a thing as too much information. The blossoming science typically uses mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to hunt for specific metabolites as markers of abnormal biological processes. "But those devices aren't geared to analyze samples like serum or urine that may have thousands of individual components," says Paul Gamache, director of applications development for ESA http://www.esainc.com in Chelmsford, Mass. "Those tools are very sensitive and were developed for other applications using samples that are more pure," he adds.

When confronted with a welter of disparate compounds, the instruments can have trouble sorting through them to discern whether a few crucial ones are present, complicating data analysis. Adds Gamache: "People use these instruments for metabolomic research just because they already have them."

Now there is a complementary option. ESA's Metabolomics System uses high-performance liquid chromatography and the...

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