Metabolomics aims at a comprehensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of all small molecules present in a cell a tissue or an organism to study the interplay in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Metabolomics recently caught up with complementary efforts to understand the genomes, transcriptomes and proteomes to establish holistic pictures of biological systems.
To determine functions of “unknown” genes in functional genomics studies, Metabolomics has gained increasing attention since changes in small molecule concentrations are closely related to the observed phenotype.
Also disease, drugs, or environmental variation can perturb concentration and fluxes in intermediary metabolic pathways. These responses involve adjustment of intracellular and extra cellular environments in order to maintain homeostasis. Both perturbation and adjustment are expressed as changes in the normal patterns in cells and biofluids that are characteristic (a ‘fingerprint’) of the nature of the site of the action. These patterns can be evaluated using spectroscopic / spectrometric techniques combined with multivariate statistical methods to gain insight into the molecular response of a biological system.