Background

Metabolite profiling and novel foods.

Functional genomics is increasingly applied in modern plant breeding. The elucidation of complete genome sequences, e.g. of rice, is seen as an important step in the development of improved plant varieties. To get a deeper insight into gene functions, techniques for comprehensive analysis of the gene transcripts (transcriptomics), the gene expression products (proteomics), and of the eventually arising metabolite patterns (metabolomics) are necessary.

The introduction of novel (e.g. genetically modified) crop varieties requires a comprehensive nutritional/toxicological pre-market evaluation. In addition to the targeted analysis of single compounds, e.g. (anti)-nutrients or naturally occurring toxicants, profiling techniques may be applied as tools for a more complete chemical characterization of foods.

Metabolite profiling aspires to provide a comprehensive picture on the metabolites present in biological systems. It aims at extracting, detecting, resolving, identifying, and quantifying a broad spectrum of compounds in a single sample. The methodologies can be totally unbiased or targeted to metabolites in key metabolic pathways.
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