Supercritical fluid chromatography – Mass spectrometry in metabolomics: Past, present, and future perspectives

Bas van de Velde, Davy Guillarme, Isabelle Kohler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Metabolomics, which consists of the comprehensive analysis of metabolites within a biological system, has been playing a growing role in the implementation of personalized medicine in modern healthcare. A wide range of analytical approaches are used in metabolomics, notably mass spectrometry (MS) combined to liquid chromatography (LC), gas chromatography (GC), or capillary electrophoresis (CE). However, none of these methods enable a comprehensive analysis of the metabolome, due to its extreme complexity and the large differences in physico-chemical properties between metabolite classes. In this context, supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) represents a promising alternative approach to improve the metabolome coverage, while further increasing the analysis throughput. SFC, which uses supercritical CO2 as mobile phase, leads to numerous advantages such as improved kinetic performance and lower environmental impact. This chromatographic technique has gained a significant interest since the introduction of advanced instrumentation, together with the introduction of dedicated interfaces for hyphenating SFC to MS. Moreover, new developments in SFC column chemistry (including sub-2 µm particles), as well as the use of large amounts of organic modifiers and additives in the CO2-based mobile phase, significantly extended the application range of SFC, enabling the simultaneous analysis of a large diversity of metabolites. Over the last years, several applications have been reported in metabolomics using SFC-MS – from lipophilic compounds, such as steroids and other lipids, to highly polar compounds, such as carbohydrates, amino acids, or nucleosides. With all these advantages, SFC-MS is promised to a bright future in the field of metabolomics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122444
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Early online date17 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Bioanalysis
  • Lipidomics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Supercritical fluid chromatography
  • Unified chromatography

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