1 Scopus citations


NMR is a very powerful tool for identifying and quantifying compounds within complex mixtures without the need for individual standards or chromatographic separation. Stable Isotope Resolved Metabolomics (or SIRM) is an approach to following the fate of individual atoms from precursors through metabolic transformation, producing an atom-resolved metabolic fate map. However, extracts of cells or tissue give rise to very complex NMR spectra. While multidimensional NMR experiments may partially overcome the spectral overlap problem, additional tools may be needed to determine site-specific isotopomer distributions. NMR is especially powerful by virtue of its isotope editing capabilities using NMR active nuclei such as 13C, 15N, 19F and 31P to select molecules containing just these atoms in a complex mixture, and provide direct information about which atoms are present in identified compounds and their relative abundances. The isotope-editing capability of NMR can also be employed to select for those compounds that have been selectively derivatized with an NMR-active stable isotope at particular functional groups, leading to considerable spectral simplification. Here we review isotope analysis by NMR, and methods of chemoselection both for spectral simplification, and for enhanced isotopomer analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by 5P20GM121327, and Edith D. Gardner (TWMF) and Carmen L. Buck (ANL) endowment funds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Chemoselection
  • Isotopomer distribution analysis
  • Stable isotope resolved metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


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