Monitoring metabolic processes
The human volatile metabolome can be monitored in exhaled breath. However, most volatile metabolites, such as acetone, isoprene, methanol, etc. play a role in several metabolic processes. A direct interpretation is thus rarely possible.
By administering isotopically labelled educts, the metabolic products will also be labelled and can clearly be distinguished from the metabolic background.
In the figure to the right we show two isotopically labelled metabolites with individual variations over time, which arise as a result of the ingestion of a labelled compound. This allows to probe and study specific metabolic processes and deficiencies, and opens the door to personalized medicine. Metabolic monitoring with PTR-MS has been demonstrated in a pilot study by Winkler et al..