Chemistry, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Robert Powers

Date of this Version



Woods, Jade, "The Application and Development of Metabolomics Methodologies for the Profiling of Food and Cellular Toxicity" (2020). Student Research Projects, Dissertations, and Theses - Chemistry Department. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Chemistry, Under the Supervision of Professor Robert Powers. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2020

Copyright © 2020 Jade Woods


Metabolomics is a rapidly growing field of study. Its growth reflects advancements in technology and an improved understanding of the impact of the environment on metabolism. As a result, metabolomics is now commonly employed to investigate and characterize human and plant metabolism. The first chapter of this thesis provides an introduction to metabolomics and an overview of the protocols for sample preparation, data collection and statistical analysis. The second thesis chapter describes in explicit detail the step-by-step process of extracting and analyzing metabolites collected from mammalian cells, specifically brain tissue with a focus on Parkinson’s disease. The chapter highlights important factors to consider including experiment design, sample collection, and data processing. Chapters 3 and 4 include the application of metabolomics to evaluate how the metabolome responds to the environment. Chapter 3 focuses on the neuronal response to the xenobiotic arsenic. It demonstrates how astrocytes increase glutathione production through an up regulation of the citric acid cycle and glycolytic processes. Arsenic was also observed to decreases related metabolites including citrate and lactate. These metabolites are important intermediates to ATP production and illustrate the interconnection of metabolomic processes. Chapter 4 shows how metabolite profiles can be used to evaluate the impact of environmental conditions on wines. Metabolite profiles of Pinot Noir derived from the same scion clone (Pinot noir 667) and grown in different regions along the Pacific coast were compared. NMR and a differential sensing array were used to profile the chemical composition of the samples. We observed how environmental conditions resulted in different metabolite profiles in the various wine samples. This thesis aims to highlight the application of metabolomic to various biological studies in order to evaluate the impact of external stimuli.

Advisor: Robert Powers