Welcome to the Centre for Human Metabolomics (CHM)

human metabolomics

CHM is dedicated to providing the healthcare sector with innovative, cutting-edge analytical services

We are driven by our passion for innovation and our commitment to providing the best possible service to our clients. Our state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge analytical methods allow us to meet the demands of various sectors within the healthcare domain.

Working together to achieve great things

The cornerstone of the CHM commercial operations is The National Metabolomics Platform (NMP) in partnership with the South African Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). he NMP was established to fulfil a niche in the South African Healthcare sector by providing internationally competitive, effective, and efficient Metabolomic Analytic Services.

In collaboration with the oldest Biochemistry Laboratory in South Africa, Potchefstroom’s Laboratory for Inborn Errors of Metabolism (PLIEM), as well as the Newborn Screening Laboratory (NBS), the NMP is at the forefront of promoting and maximising scientific technological advancements for the benefit of all.

Frequently asked questions

What is the metabolome?

The metabolome is the collection of all small molecules or metabolites present in a biological system. These molecules play important roles in growth, maintenance, and normal function.

What is metabolomics?

Metabolomics is the study of the metabolome. Metabolomics can be used to interpret biological function, mechanisms, or to find biomarkers for disease.

What are the various metabolomics approaches?

There are several metabolomics approaches depending on the need or aim of the study.

●    Untargeted analysis is an explorative approach that is used when there is no hypotheses or prior knowledge on which metabolite(s) or metabolic pathway(s) can be affected. This approach is followed when a researcher has a question rather than a hypothesis, such as “what metabolites are affected by this disease?”. Untargeted analysis can be a useful tool in helping to generate hypotheses or to explore unknown areas of research.

●    Metabolic profiling, also known as metabolome blocking, is a semi-targeted analysis of a small set of compounds related by pathway, function, or compound class. This approach is normally seen as hypothesis-driven but is also fit for exploration. For example, only amino acids can be analysed when one expects certain amino acids to be affected by a certain perturbation or disease. Also, two or more of these metabolome blocks can be joined to “reconstruct” the metabolome.

●    A targeted analysis is a hypothesis-driven approach in which only one or two compounds are quantified to test a hypothesis or validate biomarkers. If a targeted analysis is not available, a method is developed to target the compound of interest.

What are the advantages of metabolomic analysis?

The metabolome is the final downstream product of the genome and is thus closest to the functional phenotype of the cell or organism. Because of this, the metabolome is also closer to the environment and more susceptible to external perturbations.

Studying the metabolome can give more direct answers than studying the proteome or transcriptome, as many studies have shown. In these studies, alterations of metabolites were observed even when alterations in the concentrations of proteins and transcripts were not detectable.