Metabolomics is a broad scientific field with exciting applications in food and agriculture. It provides a snapshot of the metabolites present in a biological system at a specific point in time or in a specific genotype, and it allows the monitoring of metabolic changes occurring in response to environmental stimuli.

We apply our expertise in metabolomics in food safety, food quality and agriculture to develop and implement client-targeted solutions which address a range of biological challenges. We use a combination of advanced lab-based analytical techniques and computational and statistical methods to ensure the validity of our data and provide a detailed description of a biological system.

This involves the application of a range of imaging and screening techniques with the aim of capturing a wide range of metabolites and identifying early biomarkers for a variety of pathogens and physiological disorders in crops. Depending on the nature of the biological problem, we apply both targeted and untargeted approaches. These multivariate and high throughput datasets are used to create metabolite-based statistical models that can predict difficult-to-quantify variables or classify unknown samples. Our analytical approaches include: 

  • Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition algorithms for the interpretation of metabolomic data;
  • Data integration and modelling for systems biology;
  • Development of decision making tools and prediction models for food safety and freshness profiling.




Our facilities

Cranfield University has invested in state-of-the-art mass spectrometry (MS) instruments and imaging systems:

  • Hyphenated chromatographic techniques (LC/MS, GC-MS)
  • Liquid chromatography (HPLC-DAD, HPLC-ELSD, HPLC-RID)
  • Gas chromatography (GC-FID, GC-ECD)
  • Fluorescence spectroscopy
  • Vis-NIR sensors
  • Hyperspectral imaging

For data analysis we have a state-of-the-art high performance computing facility and a wide-range of proprietary and open source software installed, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, R and Matlab.

See more information on Bioinformatics at Cranfield.

Working with us

Here at Cranfield we have a substantial record of developing bespoke solutions for our clients, both the industry and research community. We offer a flexible approach to meet the needs of our commercial clients:

  • Application of rapid and non-invasive techniques for food quality, safety and adulteration.
  • Development of an early-detection systems for pre- and post-harvest biological disorders and pathogen infections.
  • Development of metabolomics-based approaches for identification of flavour biomarkers.
  • Application of machine learning for metabolic fingerprinting plant species.

In addition we can work with external clients on:

  • Development of research proposals in close consultation with our industrial partners
  • Confidential industrial research under contract.
  • Sponsored MSc projects and PhD studentships.
  • Government-funded Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)