LA-REIMS as a Rapid Screening Metabolomics Approach

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Animal health
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In chemico


Method keywords
  • metabolomics
  • screening
  • iknife
  • mass spectrometry
  • ms
  • ambient ionization
  • lipidomics
Scientific area keywords
  • analytical chemistry
Method description

This method provides a rapid untargeted screening metabolomics method, which can be used to evaluate whether or not metabolic changes can be appointed according to the metabolic state in your matrix of choice. It applies an ambient ionization technique in which a laser beam or diathermy probe is directed at a native (non-pretreated) ex vivo sample, whereupon the resulting aerosol is directed into the REIMS source for ionization. Finally, the resulting ions are measured using a Q-ToF mass spectrometer. The method has currently been optimized and successfully applied for muscle and adipose tissue, urine, blood plasma, saliva, and feces, but can be readily extrapolated to any other type of animal/human tissue or biofluid sample (CSF, bile, etc.). Following the analysis, univariate and/or multivariate statistical analysis is performed to determine if a generated metabolic fingerprint can be associated with a particular condition or metabolic state.

Lab equipment

Q-ToF, REIMS source, laser equipment or iKNife diathermy probe.

Method status
  • Internally validated
  • Published in peer reviewed journal

Pros, cons & Future potential


Rapid metabolomics screening, high throughput (500 samples in 2h), no sample preparation, suitable for a wide range of matrices.


Identification of compounds is challenging, number of detected metabolites is more limited as compared to UHPLC-HRMS.


The method is automated for the analysis of liquid samples and can be automated for solid matrices.

Future & Other applications
  • Rapid detection method for boar taint, species identification, meat defects, etc. at the slaughter line
  • Rapid detection for fish species identification and fraud at the production line
  • Rapid metabolic screening to detect changes occurring in metabolic diseases or disorders (food allergy, obesity, diabetes type 2, etc.) in biofluids

References, associated documents and other information

  • Verplanken et al (2017) Talanta, 169, 30-36
  • Van Meulebroek et al (2020) Talanta, 217
  • Wijnant et al (2020) Analytical Chemistry, 92(7)
  • Plekhova et al (2021) Nature Protocols, 16(9), 4327-4354
  • Van Meulebroek et al., Talanta, 2020.pdf
Associated documents
Verplanken et al, 2017.pdf
Plekhova et al. 2021.pdf
Wijnant et al., Analytical Chemistry, 2020.pdf
1. Van Meulebroek et al., Talanta, 2020.pdf

Contact person

Lynn Vanhaecke


Ghent University (UGent)
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Translational Physiology, Infectiology and Public Health
Flemish Region