Abstract: Secondary metabolites are organic compounds produced by an organism for reasons other than growth and development. In plants, secondary metabolites generally act as defense agents produced to deter predators and inhibit other competitive species. For humans, these compounds can often have a beneficial effect and are pursued and utilized as natural pharmaceuticals. The development of sensitive, high-throughput analytical screening methods for plant derived metabolites is crucial for natural pharmaceutical product discovery and plant metabolomic profiling. Here, metabolomic profiling methods were developed using a microfluidic capillary zone electrophoresis device and evaluated against traditional separation approaches. An alkaloid screening assay was constructed to analyze transgenic mutant plant extracts for novel metabolites. Putatively identified novel features were detected, elucidated, and then isolated and purified for pharmaceutical evaluation. Additionally, methods for the analysis of polyphenolic plant-derived secondary metabolites, such as cannabinoids, were also developed and evaluated. In this case, the occurrence of cross-instrumental variation was addressed, given the tight legal restrictions regarding commercialization the products in question. Lastly, the microfluidic CZE-MS methods were further applied for both primary and secondary metabolite profiling in a DMPK assay. This assay was developed to inclusively monitor metabolic changes as a response to varying concentrations of a therapeutic in circulation. The metabolomic methods developed and evaluated in this work displayed high sensitivity, efficiency, and accuracy and can be utilized across a wide variety of applications.
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