Metabolomics and bioinformatics service platforms
The AWRI established the South Australian node of Metabolomics Australia (Metabolomics SA) in 2008 as part of a national network with partners in Western Australia, Victoria, and Queensland. Metabolomics SA operates as a collaborative service platform that provides public and private researchers and industries with support, service and training as well as access to infrastructure and specialist expertise.
After a successful external review in 2018, Metabolomics SA secured substantial new investment to support its operations. Bioplatforms Australia, which manages funding through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), together with the South Australian Government and the AWRI announced a collective investment of $11.1m for metabolomics and associated activities at the AWRI from 2019 to 2023. Funds will be used to replace in-demand mass spectrometry instruments and develop new capabilities in high resolution mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy for non-targeted metabolomics.
NCRIS-enabled Metabolomics Australia services and expertise
In 2020/2021, Metabolomics SA broadened its services and expertise for metabolomics research by adding advanced high-resolution mass spectrometry and liquid state 400 MHz NMR spectroscopy. Priority areas for research collaborations included environmental science, animal science, food and beverage production, biomedical science and the gut microbiome. Metabolomics SA supported commercialisation and performance testing for new fermentation solutions by establishing flavour and aroma profiles using mass spectrometric analysis.
An international collaboration with a visiting scientist from Korea Food Research Institute led to further insight into yeast interactions and nutritional components during fermentation, with work conducted using non-targeted metabolomics and high-resolution mass spectrometry. New partnerships were formed with the South Australian Genomics Centre and the University of South Australia’s Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility, which will enhance ‘omics’ support for researchers and industry. The facility continued to provide hands-on training for Australian and international scientists, with topics including sample preparation techniques, instrument operations and bioinformatics.