• Biomarkers of Drinking? - Chromatography Investigates

LC-MS

Biomarkers of Drinking? - Chromatography Investigates

Sep 25 2018

We are what we eat - so they say. Whilst it is our parents that that give us the genetic material that makes us blue-eyed and tall - there are other factors at play that can affect us. The environment we live in, the food and drink we consume. The effects of all the external factors alongside our inherited genetic material has led to what is known as the exposome.

A recent paper published in the journal Nutrients - Main Human Urinary Metabolites after Genipap (Genipa americana L.) Juice Intake - has investigated how we might analyse the effects of a drink on our exposome. It could potentially lead to new ways to develop medicines. Let’s look at the exposome and find out more about genipap.

Exposome - the sum of all things?

The idea of the exposome was first put forward in 2005 by Christopher Wild, a cancer epidemiologist. Wild suggested the need for an ‘exposome’ - the sum of human environmental exposures - to match the genome. Wild suggested that the exposome might be a useful tool in determining how environmental agents affect us as humans - including causing disease and ill health.

He thought that the ‘exposome may be useful in drawing attention to the need for methodologic developments in exposure assessment.’ The exposome includes all the lifetime environmental exposures and lifestyle factors - including when we’re in our mother’s womb. One of the keys to using the exposome was in developing reliable measuring tools.

Measuring the metabolites with chromatography

In the Nutrients paper referenced above, a team of researchers from Brazil and France set out to measure the biomarkers of genipap exposure. Genipap is a fruit native to Amazonia that contains many different bioactive components. The human metabolome can play a key role in the measurement of the exposome as it contains the results of the many reactions that take place in the body when we ingest something.

Genipap fruit is used to make drinks, jams and even ice cream - and has been used to treat many different conditions including measles and anaemia. It is thought that the fruit could be the source of many new bioactive compounds, leading potentially to treatments many different conditions, including cancer.

But first, we need to know what effect the fruit has on the body by measuring biomarkers to the juice. The team recruited 16 volunteers and sampled their urine both before and after consumption of 500ml of genipap juice. They analysed the samples taken using liquid chromatography. The use of chromatography is discussed in the article, Sensitive and Robust Screening of Hundreds of PPCP Compounds Using Online SPE-LC-MS/MS.

The team have identified several potential biomarkers for genipap consumption. They conclude by stating that the:

biomarker model allows for determining if an individual has consumed genipap juice recently, and these data can be used in epidemiological studies to help understand its use to treat some diseases in the Amazon regions.


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