DTU Metabolomics Core

DTU Metabolomics Platfrom provides analytical service to the researchers at DTU Bioengineering by grouping all major analytical instrumentation under a single management in dedicated laboratories. The main objective is to ensure an efficient use of all equipment, to maintain a high level of analytical skills and knowledge as well as secure cost-efficient operation of the very expensive equipment.

Our mission is to provide the researches access to state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation and methodologies to detect all relevant smaller metabolites from biological system with an emphasis on microbial systems.

Advanced mass spectrometry combined with chromatography is a core part of all our work where we have a long tradition of work on secondary metabolite profiling from micro-organisms especially fungi. We have a large collection of  more than 1500 unique secondary metabolite and mycotoxin reference standards. Here we provide cutting-edge dereplication (see 1, 2, 3) for novelty evaluation of secondary metabolites in e.g. drug discovery applications, now also including coupling this with MS/HRMS libraries and stable isotope-labelling for precursor detection.
This also involves many projects on characterization of biosynthetic pathways of polyketides (1) and non-ribosomal peptides (2)

Other major work areas are primary metabolites where we currently focus on phosphorylated compounds of the central carbon metabolism including energy and redox compounds, a key point of this is close collaboration with our Fermentation Core to ensure representative biological material for the analysis and correct quenching (1) methodology can also be used for signaling nucelotides as c-di-GMP (2).

As microorganisms produces significant amounts of materials which can interfere with mass spectrometric detection and even worse the media the organisms grows in contains even more interferences, we have a long tradition of working with sample preparation especially solid phase extraction (1, 2, 3, 4).

Getting access
The core is financed by the department and is as such only open to projects running at the department; however some departments (Chemistry and Food) have collaborative agreements and can e.g. get accurate mass verification of pure compounds.

Before being allowed to use instruments or more likely having samples analyzed the following need to be answered:

  • How should the sample preparation be done? To ensure not contaminating the instruments and obtaining valid data. Please ask before starting as we often get samples that have been ruined during sample preparation.
  • Does the samples contain high amounts of interfering compounds making analysis impossible of difficult (e.g. PEG, Tween, or other polymers), or salts that needs removal
  • Who will look at the data? In many projects this is a major bottleneck, both GC-MS and LC-MS data are highly complicated and needs training and experience to handle
  • How is the experimental design are there replicates enough, does the set include appropriate controls (blanks), and how much should the method be quantitatively validated
  • All samples must be labelled with printed labels, printed on our labels printers.

Contract research
We run a significant number of contract research projects for industry e.g.: i) identification unknown compounds in samples (e.g. fermentation broths or from bio-fuels projects); ii) analysis of (often unwanted) mycotoxins, bacillus toxins (cereulide, lipopeptides as surfactin) and other secondary metabolites in products; iii) determination of mycotoxin production potential of industrial strains (1); iv) analysis of mycotoxins in food, feed, and raw products (2, 3) ; v) help on metabolic engineering projects with e.g. determination of intracellular pool sizes of central carbon and energy metabolism (4); and vi) aid for secondary metabolite pathway discovery and characterization (5, 6).

Interim Head of Core

Christopher Phippen
DTU Bioengineering