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Influence of Freezing and Storage Procedure on Human Urine Samples in NMR-Based Metabolomics

Author(s): Manuela J. Rist | Claudia Muhle-Goll | Benjamin Görling | Achim Bub | Stefan Heissler | Bernhard Watzl | Burkhard Luy

Journal: Metabolites
ISSN 2218-1989

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 243;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: NMR | metabolomics | urine | freezing | storage | SOP | pH | dry ice | CO2

It is consensus in the metabolomics community that standardized protocols should be followed for sample handling, storage and analysis, as it is of utmost importance to maintain constant measurement conditions to identify subtle biological differences. The aim of this work, therefore, was to systematically investigate the influence of freezing procedures and storage temperatures and their effect on NMR spectra as a potentially disturbing aspect for NMR-based metabolomics studies. Urine samples were collected from two healthy volunteers, centrifuged and divided into aliquots. Urine aliquots were frozen either at −20 °C, on dry ice, at −80 °C or in liquid nitrogen and then stored at −20 °C, −80 °C or in liquid nitrogen vapor phase for 1–5 weeks before NMR analysis. Results show spectral changes depending on the freezing procedure, with samples frozen on dry ice showing the largest deviations. The effect was found to be based on pH differences, which were caused by variations in CO2 concentrations introduced by the freezing procedure. Thus, we recommend that urine samples should be frozen at −20 °C and transferred to lower storage temperatures within one week and that freezing procedures should be part of the publication protocol.
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