Metabolomics Platform

Metabolomics is the newest and most recent of the various omic sciences to have emerged. This branch of science is responsible for the systematic study of the metabolomic profile of a biological process. Metabolomics studies the metabolic profile in biological samples (fluids, tissues, cell cultures, etc.) for the purpose of discovering diseases and risk factors and determining biomarkers. This science is also useful in determining nutritional therapies and interventions.

  • The Metabolomics Platform is shared equipment created by the Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona and CIBERDEM. It is also part of the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Pere Virgili (IISPV). It is located in the Scientific and Technical Resource Service building of Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Sescel·lades, Tarragona Campus ).

The purpose of the CIBERDEM Metabolomics Platform is to provide service to different research groups, such that metabolomics can be included as a complementary tool for their work.


  • Experiment Analysis: Assistance in designing experiments as regards the attainable objectives, suitable statistical sampling, number of samples to be processed, logistic aspects, etc., in order to obtain satisfactory results.
  • Chemical Analysis: Measurement of metabolites in human and animal biofluids (serum, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, etc.), by means of high-resolution NMR. There are also probes available for measuring biological tissues, semisolid tissues, etc.
  • Result Analysis: Statistical analyses of metabolites (metabolic fingerprint) are performed in population studies to classify and differentiate healthy populations from populations suffering diseases and to determine at-risk populations. The metabolomic profiling technique and the search for biomarkers (metabolic targeting) based on comparing analytical measurements with the information in databases are also addressed.

Infrastructure and Equipament

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)-based Analytical Platforms:

  • Bruker 600 MHz Advance III NMR equipment provided with a CryoProbe and fully automated and specifically for measuring biofluids.
  • Bruker 500 MHz Advance III NMR equipment provided with a probe to work with non-liquid biological samples (tissues, cultures, homogenates, etc.) and low-volume probes.

Mass Spectrometry (MS)-based Analytical Platforms :

  • Agilent HPLC-TOF equipment specifically designed for general metabolomic analyses.
  • Agilent HPLC-MS/MS equipment  ideal for identifying and quantifying metabolites.
  • Agilent GC-MS equipment. This equipment allows rapidly identifying metabolites by means of the retention time-locking technique.
  • Bioinformatic software for statistical processing of results (AMIX, Matlab, etc.). Access to metabolite databases: METLIN, FIEHN, HMDB, AMIX, etc.