Global metabolic profiling using ultra-performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Yunpeng Qi, Yunlong Song, Haiwei Gu, Guorong Fan, Yifeng Chai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Currently, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is one of the most important analytical technologies for detecting hundreds of metabolites in the field of metabolomics. A recent advance in LC that has impacted metabolomics is the development of UPLC (ultra-performance liquid chromatography). In this chapter, we describe the analytical methodologies for the global metabolic profiling of serum, urine, and tissue samples using UPLC-Q-TOF (quadrupole-time-of-flight)-MS. Aqueous metabolites are extracted after adding methanol/acetonitrile/acetone and then analyzed by UPLC-MS under positive and/or negative ionization mode. With the aid of multivariate statistical analysis, separation between various groups can be observed in the score plots, and biomarkers are screened in the loading/ weight/VIP (variable importance in the projection) scatterplots. Furthermore, putative markers can be identified through comparison with the authentic standards based on tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) fragmentation pattern and LC retention. We expect that our protocol, with modifications if necessary, can be useful in many metabolomics studies and a wide range of research areas related to small molecules and LC-MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Global metabolic profiling
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Quadrupole-time-of-flight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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