Global metabolite analysis: the influence of extraction methodology on metabolome profiles of Escherichia coli

Ram Prasad Maharjan, Thomas Ferenci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

298 Citations (Scopus)


The global pool of all metabolites in a cell, or metabolome, is a reflection of all the metabolic functions of an organism under any particular growth condition. In the absence of in situ methods capable of universally measuring metabolite pools, intracellular metabolite measurements need to be performed in vitro after extraction. In the past, a variety of cell lysis methods were adopted for assays of individual metabolites or groups of intermediates in pathways. In this study, metabolites were extracted from Escherichia coli using six different commonly used procedures including acid or alkaline treatments, permeabilization by freezing with methanol, high-temperature extraction in the presence of ethanol or methanol, and by lysis with chloroform-methanol. Metabolites were extracted by the six methods from cells grown under identical conditions and labeled with [14C]glucose. The metabolomes were compared after 2-dimensional thin-layer chromatography of labeled compounds. For global analysis, extraction with cold (-40 °C) methanol showed the greatest promise, allowing simultaneous resolution of more than 95 metabolite spots. In contrast, 80 or less spots were obtained with other extraction methods. Extraction also influenced quantitative analysis of particular compounds. Metabolites such as adenosine exhibited up to 20-fold higher abundance after cold methanol extraction than after extraction with acid, alkali, or chloroform. The simplicity, rapidity, and universality of cold methanol extraction offer great promise if a single method of lysis is to be adopted in metabolome analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-154
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science (USA)


  • Cell lysis
  • Cold methanol
  • Hot methanol
  • Alkaline
  • Ethanol
  • Perchloric acid


Dive into the research topics of 'Global metabolite analysis: the influence of extraction methodology on metabolome profiles of Escherichia coli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this