A Caltech Library Service

Metabolomics As an Emerging Tool in the Search for Astrobiologically Relevant Biomarkers

Seyler, Lauren and Kujawinski, Elizabeth B. and Azua-Bustos, Armando and Lee, Michael D. and Marlow, Jeffrey and Perl, Scott M. and Cleaves, Henderson James, II (2020) Metabolomics As an Emerging Tool in the Search for Astrobiologically Relevant Biomarkers. Astrobiology, 20 (10). pp. 1251-1261. ISSN 1531-1074.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


It is now routinely possible to sequence and recover microbial genomes from environmental samples. To the degree it is feasible to assign transcriptional and translational functions to these genomes, it should be possible, in principle, to largely understand the complete molecular inputs and outputs of a microbial community. However, gene-based tools alone are presently insufficient to describe the full suite of chemical reactions and small molecules that compose a living cell. Metabolomic tools have developed quickly and now enable rapid detection and identification of small molecules within biological and environmental samples. The convergence of these technologies will soon facilitate the detection of novel enzymatic activities, novel organisms, and potentially extraterrestrial life-forms on solar system bodies. This review explores the methodological problems and scientific opportunities facing researchers who hope to apply metabolomic methods in astrobiology-related fields, and how present challenges might be overcome.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 2020 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Submitted: 7 July 2019; Accepted: 1 May 2020; Published Online: 17 Jun 2020. This study was partially supported by the ELSI Origins Network (EON), which is supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation. This work was partially supported by a JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Hadean Bioscience,” grant number JP26106003, and also partially supported by Project “icyMARS,” funded by the European Research Council, ERC Starting Grant No. 307496. A.A-B thanks the contribution from the Project “MarsFirstWater,” funded by the European Research Council, ERC Consolidator Grant No. 818602 and the HFSP Project UVEnergy RGY0066/2018. No competing financial interests exist.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John Templeton FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)JP26106003
European Research Council (ERC)307496
European Research Council (ERC)818602
Human Frontier Science ProgramRGY0066/2018
Subject Keywords:Biomarkers; Biosignatures; Metabolism; Molecular fossils; Biogeochemistry
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200624-143703946
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Metabolomics as an Emerging Tool in the Search for Astrobiologically Relevant Biomarkers. Lauren Seyler, Elizabeth B. Kujawinski, Armando Azua-Bustos, Michael D. Lee, Jeffrey Marlow, Scott M. Perl, and Henderson James Cleaves II. Astrobiology. Oct 2020. 1251-1261.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104018
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Jun 2020 21:49
Last Modified:21 Oct 2020 22:46

Repository Staff Only: item control page