Nanomaterials-assisted metabolic analysis toward in vitro diagnostics

Nanomaterials have found extensive applications in the metabolic analysis of diverse bio-specimens, with efficient selectivity and sensitivity. The nanomaterial-based metabolic analysis is always accompanied by accurate quantitation of targeted metabolite biomarkers and high-throughput profiling of untargeted metabolic fingerprints, adding practical value to in vitro diagnostics. Its further developments will have far-reaching implications for the research of precision medicines.


In vitro diagnostics (IVD) has played an indispensable role in healthcare system by providing necessary information to indicate disease condition and guide therapeutic decision. Metabolic analysis can be the primary choice to facilitate the IVD since it characterizes the downstream metabolites and offers real-time feedback of the human body. Nanomaterials with well-designed composition and nanostructure have been developed for the construction of high-performance detection platforms toward metabolic analysis. Herein, we summarize the recent progress of nanomaterials-assisted metabolic analysis and the related applications in IVD. We first introduce the important role that nanomaterials play in metabolic analysis when coupled with different detection platforms, including electrochemical sensors, optical spectrometry, and mass spectrometry. We further highlight the nanomaterials-assisted metabolic analysis toward IVD applications, from the perspectives of both the targeted biomarker quantitation and untargeted fingerprint extraction. This review provides fundamental insights into the function of nanomaterials in metabolic analysis, thus facilitating the design of next-generation diagnostic devices in clinical practice.

Author list:

Jing Yang, Lin Huang*, Kun Qian*

How to cite:

J. Yang, L. Huang, K. Qian, Exploration 2022, 2, 20210222.