Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), is a physical phenomenon which occurs when an atomic nucleus is placed in a very strong magnetic field. The resulting signal is defined by the type and number of surrounding nuclei as well as from the electron shell. NMR is utilized in medicine and several scientific and technical fields of application.
NMR spectroscopy is widely used in, but not limited to, the field of biomedical research. On the one hand it is used to elucidate the structure and dynamics of nucleic acids, amino acids, peptides and proteins as well as to decipher their interaction with active ingredients. Structure elucidation by NMR can be done directly in solution - in contrast to X-ray structural analysis.
High-resolution NMR spectroscopy is also a key technology in the field of metabolomics/metabonomics research. The metabonomics approach uses the entirety of metabolites to draw conclusions about physiological or pathophysiological metabolic states.
Many complex questions in various biological systems can be answered using this approach. To date, metabolomics has mainly been used in research. In the future this powerful methodology and therefore NMR spectroscopy is bound to find wider application, particularly in laboratory diagnostics.
In the field of laboratory diagnostics, NMR techniques are being used increasingly successfully to determine the concentrations of metabolic products (metabolites) in body fluids such as plasma, serum or urine.