Metabolite Identification

© Fraunhofer IME


Substance identification and structural clarification


Increasing demands relating to regulatory approval procedures are a great challenge for chemical analysis especially for the environmental analysis of organic substances. A decisive factor for the identification of transformation products and metabolism pathways are highly sensitive analytical methods which permit the identification of smallest substance quantities.

Fraunhofer IME makes use of the currently most efficient methods in the environmental analysis of organic substances which allow analyzing smallest quantities of test substances or their transformation products for their composition (chemical formula) or structure.

In this context, the nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), the currently most efficient analysis method for the structural clarification of organic substances, plays a decisive role. Fraunhofer IME possesses a 700 MHz NMR spectrometer equipped with a 1.7 mm Cryo probe which makes it an optimal device for the analysis of small substance quantities and very high measurement resolution.

The results are supported by high resolution mass spectroscopy. For this purpose, an LC-MS/MS - OrbitrapTM Hybrid FT mass spectrometer is available. This high resolution mass spectrometer enables us to identify unknown substances in ng-quantities by determining the exact chemical formula. For isolation and concentration procedures a modern LC-SPE unit is available.

All analytical instruments are located in the radiation control area. Therefore, all studies can be carried out with isotope-labeled substances (usually 14C). With this equipment, a unique combination of analytical competences is available at Fraunhofer IME. The combination of highly specific analytics and isotope-labeled compounds enables the identification of the metabolism of organic substances in organisms and under realistic environmental conditions.

The analyses can be conducted starting with already purified samples. The special expertise of Fraunhofer IME is the development and establishment of analytical methods from complex matrices which are usually found in environmental analytics.