Special Issue "Applications of Metabolomics within Natural Products Chemistry"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2015)
Dr. Maria Halabalaki
1 CCB-Center for Chemistry and Biomedicine, Institute of Pharmacy/Pharmacognosy, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 80-82, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2 Department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Product Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Athens, Panepistimioupoli-Zografou, 15771 Athens, Greece
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Interests: pharmacognosy; natural products chemistry; natural extracts characterization; dereplication; profiling; metabolomics
Natural products (NPs), low molecular weight compounds originated from nature, possess a predominant position among prevailing chemical entities. NPs are characterized by an unmet and untapped structural diversity and uniqueness; they are more complex in respect to decoration patterns and dispersal of functionalities while they cover an extended chemical space compared to other chemical agents. This particular nature is the positive consequence of the evolutionary process, which furnished NPs with competitive advantages, enabling them to interact with biological targets for the benefit of every living organism. The NPs privileged features have led to their broad utilization in medicine, pharmacology, and biology, where NPs still comprise a considerable driving force in drug discovery and inspiration for chemists. Additionally, NPs find several applications in many other fields and areas of research and development, such as in nutrition, agriculture, cosmetics, biotechnology, food chemistry, environmental chemistry, and botany, to name just a few.
Despite the proven track record of NPs, a declined interest of both the scientific community and private sector, such as big pharma, is evident. Some factors are strongly related to the endogenous problems of NP’s discovery process, which is traditionally laborious, costly, and time consuming, while the emergence of other concepts and approaches, such as combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening (HTS) also guided toward this direction. Nevertheless, in the last few years, NP’s discovery and, generally, natural products chemistry and pharmacognosy are experiencing a breakthrough. The entire process is gradually becoming technology-driven. New techniques and approaches have been introduced and incorporated, especially in the areas of natural product’s isolation, identification, and analytics, altering traditional concepts and perceptions. One of these approaches, which was rapidly embraced by scientists, and generally the experts in the fiend of NPs, is metabolomics.
Metabolomics, taking advantage of technological advances and state-of-the-art analytical techniques, as well as the power of bioinformatics, comprise a new approach promising a holistic view of the metabolome of every biological system, aiming to a more comprehensive and multifaceted view in Systems Biology. Metabolomics, have been rapidly employed for the analysis of natural materials in a more holistic way, finding multiple applications and uses. According to the scope of the study, metabolic fingerprinting and metabolic profiling are applied in a targeted or non-targeted manner seeking to respond to a, usually, given biological or chemical question. Such approaches or NPs metabolomics, have been incorporated for chemotaxonomic studies, quality, safety and toxicity assessment, quality control, as well as for the exploration of physiological and biochemical effects in different environmental and stress conditions. Additionally, metabolomics have been employed for the investigation of the physiological development of different organisms and drug discovery. It is, indeed, worth mention that the number of metabolomics and metabolomics-related studies is gradually elevated in the area of NPs and new applications constantly appear. The integration and harmonization of metabolomics with traditional and contemporary methods and approaches could effectively facilitate the discovery and chemistry of NPs, which is expected to be seen.
Dr. Maria Halabalaki
Manuscript Submission Information
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- NPs metabolomics and
- plants, marine organisms and microorganisms
- study design and workflows
- sample preparation protocols and related issues
- targeted and non-targeted approaches
- data processing and data interpretation
- identification of biomarkers and databases
- chemotaxonomy, abiotic stress and fluxomics
- quality assurance and quality control