Chapter 6 : Metabolomics for the Discovery of Novel Compounds

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Exometabolomics is a more restricted discipline, only concerned with detection of all secreted or cell wall-deposited secondary metabolites. This chapter outlines the procedures for optimal discovery of new compounds, based on experience with filamentous fungi. Sequencing of ribosomal genes is often used for identification in bacteriology and mycology, but experience within the fungi has shown that sequencing one or two housekeeping genes gives a much more accurate identification at the species level than ribosomal genes alone. Ultrasonication helps in extracting a large proportion of the secondary metabolites present in the agar plugs. This mixture is especially well suited for apolar and medium polar compounds. Usually the extraction mixture is then evaporated and the remaining dry extract redissolved in methanol. By use of the 3:2:1 mixture many “primary metabolites” are not included in the final extract being analyzed. New metabolites from a new species in that group would then probably be a terpene or a nonribosomal peptide, even though a fifth kind of polyketide could also be the bioactive compound. One of the most important parts of finding new compounds is to be able to quickly deselect already known compounds. The use of fast methods such a direct-inlet MS combined with databases is one possibility, while UPLC-UV-MS may also prove to be the chosen chemical screening technique for new bioactive natural products in the future.

Citation: Frisvad J. 2010. Metabolomics for the Discovery of Novel Compounds, p 73-77. In Baltz R, Demain A, Davies J, Bull A, Junker B, Katz L, Lynd L, Masurekar P, Reeves C, Zhao H (ed), Manual of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology, Third Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816827.ch6
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