Analytical Chemistry

Integrated exposomics/metabolomics for rapid exposure and effect analyses



Environmental drivers of disease susceptibility, referred to as the exposome in its totality, are poorly understood. Measuring the myriad of chemicals that humans are exposed to is immensely challenging and identifying disrupted metabolic pathways is an even more complex task. Here, we present a novel technological approach for the comprehensive, rapid and integrated analysis of the endogenous human metabolome and the chemical exposome. By combining reverse-phase and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography and fast polarity switching, molecules with highly diverse chemical structures can be analyzed in 15 minutes with a single analytical run. Standard reference materials and authentic standards were evaluated to critically benchmark performance. Highly sensitive median limits of detection with 0.04 µM for >140 quantitatively assessed endogenous metabolites and 0.08 ng/mL for the >100 model xenobiotics were obtained. To prove the dual-column approach’s applicability, real-life samples from sub-Saharan Africa (high exposure scenario) and Europe (low exposure scenario) were assessed in a targeted and non-targeted manner. Our LC-HRMS approach demonstrates the feasibility to quantitatively and simultaneously assess the endogenous metabolome and the chemical exposome for the high-throughput measurement of environmental drivers of disease.

Version notes

References were corrected.


Thumbnail image of Flasch et al_Duo Column_Metabolomics_manuscript .pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of Supplement_Part_A.pdf
Supplementary Material A
Additional figures (Fig. S1- Fig. S8) and tables (Table S1- Table S7, Table S19, Table S20) as mentioned in the manuscript.
Thumbnail image of Supplement_Part_B.xlsx
Supplementary Material B
Additional tables (Table S9 - Table S18) mentioned in the manuscript.

Supplementary weblinks

Lab webpage
Link to the group's website.