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Elemental metabolomics is quantification and characterization of total concentration of chemical elements in biological samples and monitoring of their changes. Recent advances in inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry have enabled simultaneous measurement of concentrations of > 70 elements in biological samples. In living organisms, elements interact and compete with each other for absorption and molecular interactions. They also interact with proteins and nucleotide sequences. These interactions modulate enzymatic activities and are critical for many molecular and cellular functions. Testing for concentration of > 40 elements in blood, other bodily fluids and tissues is now in routine use in advanced medical laboratories. In this article, we define the basic concepts of elemental metabolomics, summarize standards and workflows, and propose minimum information for reporting the results of an elemental metabolomics experiment. Major statistical and informatics tools for elemental metabolomics are reviewed, and examples of applications are discussed. Elemental metabolomics is emerging as an important new technology with applications in medical diagnostics, nutrition, agriculture, food science, environmental science and multiplicity of other areas.
Briefings in Bioinformatics
© 2017 Oxford University Press. This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Briefings in Bioinformatics following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Elemental metabolomics, Briefings in Bioinformatics, is available online at: DOI 10.1093/bib/bbw131.
This publication has been entered into Griffith Research Online as an Advanced Online Version.