The potential to read out diet from a sample directly has huge implications for research in populations like people with Alzheimer’s Disease
An international team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California San Diego, US report a new method called ‘untargeted metabolomics’ to identify the vast number of molecules derived from food that were previously unidentified, but that appear in our blood and our stool.
The method, described i Nature Biotechnology, matched all of the products of metabolism in a specimen to large databases of samples where chemical inventories were available, providing an unprecedented catalog of the molecule signatures created by consuming food or by processing it in our gut.
The authors said that, used broadly, the new approach could dramatically expand understanding of the sources of chemicals in many kinds of human, animal and environmental samples.
“Untargeted mass spectrometry is a very sensitive technique that allows for the detection of hundreds to thousands of molecules that can now be used to create a diet profile of individuals. We can now use this approach to obtain diet information empirically and understand relationships to clinical outcomes. It is now possible to link molecules in diet to health outcomes not one at a time but all at once, which has not been possible before,” said co-corresponding author Pieter Dorrestein, PhD, director of the Collaborative Mass Spectrometry Innovation Center at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego.
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