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The gut microbiota impact host metabolism by producing or catabolizing metabolites (e.g., short-chain fatty acids, SCFA), generating a pathogens barrier against and altering the physiological activity of the host. The NMR application on feces and fecal water samples has been used to monitor human metabolic activity, especially the effect of microbiota on the regulation of host metabolism. 1H NMR spectroscopy is also able to monitor changes in certain gut-derived metabolites (e.g., SCFAs, amines, and trimethyl amine-N-oxide (TMAO)) in other biofluids such as urine and blood. Thus, through the application of NMR metabolomics, it is possible to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms by which the gut regulates food to affect host health.
The NMR method is based on the magnetic characteristics of particular atomic cores which absorb and emit electromagnetic radiations in a magnetic field. The produced energy appears at a specific resonance frequency which depends on the magnetic field and magnetic characteristics of specific isotopes. NMR is a quantitative (absolute), non-destructive, repeatable, and objective method. It has been mainly used for the simultaneous tracing of different metabolites in a complex biological material in terms of chemical composition and concentrations. NMR spectroscopy is often used in metabolomics studies because of its high reproducibility and the simple preparation process. NMR spectroscopy has been used for SCFA profiling of cecal contents and fecal extracts of mice.
Fig.1 Multiple purposes of NMR-based metabolomics through analysis of samples collected from different sites. (He, 2022)
NMR-based metabolomics has specific advantages, including:
These advantages make NMR-based metabolomics the first choice for high-throughput analysis and interlaboratory comparisons. High-throughput metabolite profiling methods, including 1H NMR, provide an excellent platform for the quantitative detection of SCFAs in complex biological matrices. In addition, NMR spectroscopy also provides information metabolic profile of the overall metabolic characteristics. Therefore, it is most suitable for measuring cecal or fecal samples (higher SCFA concentrations).
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For Research Use Only. Not intended for use in food manufacturing or medical procedures (diagnostics or therapeutics). Do Not Use in Humans.