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CELPAS Metabolomics and Metabolism Laboratory

Scientific Focus

The CMML is part of the analytical infrastructure unit within the Center of Excellence on Plant Sciences (CEPLAS), with a strong focus on the analysis of metabolites of the central carbon and nitrogen metabolism. These primary metabolites are essential for an organism to grow, develop and reproduce. This includes catabolic as well as anabolic metabolic pathways and thereby several metabolic classes such as small organic acids, amino acids, sugars, fatty acids and nucleotides. Metabolites within and between metabolic classes may differ greatly in physico-chemical properties and their analysis require adequate analytical techniques to meet this variety.

In the CMML we use combinations of chromatographic and mass spectrometry approaches to analyze complex intra- and extracellular metabolome sample from different plant tissues, algae and cyanobacteria cultures.

Metabolite analysis by gas-chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-MS)

Our current GC-MS device is a 7200 accurate mass Q-TOF GC/MS from Agilent Technologies. We routinely quantify 50 metabolites, mainly of the central carbon metabolism in various species ranging from photosynthetic organism such as Arabidopsis, Flaveria, Cleome, Zea mays, different water plants, red algae and cyanobacteria to yeast, Elysia chlorotica and serum from Canis lupus. The metabolite pattern found in different species or tissues, under different environmental conditions or genetic backgrounds in combination with physiological, transcriptional and/or enzymatic analyses plays a key role in understanding the species’ metabolism under the applied conditions. (more...)

Elemental analysis by gas source stable isotope ratio mass spectrometery (EA-IRMS)

With our IsoPrime100 from Isoprime we can analyse C and N content and C to N ratio and carbon isotope ratio (δ13C). δ13C of plant material, for example, is used to distinguish different pathways of carbon fixation such as C3, C3-C4 and C4 photosynthesis. (more...)

Amino acid analysis by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)

For the absolute quantification of amino acids we use our Agilent 1290 HPLC system. The derivatised amino acids are separated by a C18 column in a nine minute gradient and detected by the Infinity Diode Array Detector (DAD) from Agilent. This system allows precise absolute quantification over a huge dynamic range. (more...)


Dr. Philipp Westhoff

Katrin Weber

Elisabeth Klemp

Maria Graf