Instrumental Analytical Chemistry and Metabolomics

The research group "Instrumental Analytical Chemistry and Metabolomics" addresses separation science and mass spectrometry.

In the field of elemental mass spectrometry the group performs elemental ultratrace analysis down to sub-ng L -1 concentrations via ICP-MS in clean room laboratories. Moreover, it combines efficient separation techniques, i.e. HPLC, CE and GC with ICP-MS for elemental speciation analysis. We implement method developments into environmental projects (iron transport in the ocean, surface water analysis, platinum group elements and compounds), soil/plant research (root exudates, metal complexes in the rhizosphere, plant and microbial siderophores) and bio(techno)logical methods aiming at the investigation of metal/protein interaction.

In the field of metabolomics, the group uses tandem mass spectrometers (LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS) for targeted quantification (metabolic profiling) of primary metabolites and intermediates in biological systems focusing mainly on research and applications in biotechnology. In the same context, we use accurate mass time-of-flight systems (LC-QTOFMS, GC-QTOFMS) for development of non-targeted analysis together with highly sophisticated chemometric data analysis methods. Currently ion mobility-mass spectrometry is a central research topic. We are addressing 13C metabolic flux analysis by method development for measurement of accurate isotopologue and tandem mass isotopologue ratios of selected metabolites in cell extracts. After calculation of isotopologue fractions, these data are transferred to bioinformatic modeling of metabolic fluxes.

In several projects, quantitative data is generated by advanced quantification strategies based on elemental labeling or isotope dilution mass spectrometry. Great importance is attached to determination of measurement uncertainty and uncertainty budgeting.

A list of recent publications is available at the BOKU research information system


The group is cooperating with academic and industrial partners within several research projects.

BOKU partners:

Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Nicole Borth
Institute of Animal Cell Technology und Systems Biology and Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology – acib
(Biotechnological research)

Univ. Prof. Dr. Diethard Mattanovich
Institute of Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology and Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology – acib 
(Biotechnological research)

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Eva Oburger and PD Dr. Markus Puschenreiter,
Institute of Soil Science
(Rhizosphere and plant/soil research)


Univ. Prof. Dr. Gunda Köllensperger
Institute of Analytical Chemistry, University of Vienna
(Metallomics and metabolomics projects within Metallomics Platform Vienna and acib)

Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Regina Krachler
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Vienna
(Iron transport in the ocean, ionic liquids)

Federal Ministry Republic of Austria of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism
(BMLRT, Nationale und internationale Wasserwirtschaft, Abteilung I/3) 

Industry partners:

Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology
(Core facility metabolomics)

Agilent Technologies 
(Mass spectrometry based metabolomics)

F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG
(Chemical analysis)

Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation
(Mass spectrometry based food authenticity and provenance)

Sandoz Kundl 
(Metabolic profiling and metabolic flux analysis)