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Application of NMR to study biological change Lee, Jonathan Wai Kua


The aim of this study was directed towards the application of NMR as an analytical tool to follow biological changes, by integrating imaging capabilities with an analytical NMR instrument. The work described here is divided into three parts: application of ¹³C NMR to follow biochemical transformations, evaluation of the usefulness of relaxation studies in detection of biological changes and, finally, testing of a combination of both NMR imaging and spectroscopic techniques to study a selected model system. Spectroscopic techniques were used to study systems of interest not only to chemists but also to technologists interested in milk-souring, grape-juice fermentation, soybean germination and cartilage-degradation. Our immediate objective was to identify biological changes and to fit them into known biochemical pathways; in the long term, this would lay down the ground work for future in-vivo studies. Relaxation techniques were used to obtain biological information and to follow biochemical changes. Initial studies involved cultured cells and their NMR relaxation rates were shown to be dependent on factors affecting cellular activities, such as growth and infection. Animal models of Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis were followed by relaxation rates with moderate success. Finally, a preliminary study is described, in which a combination of spectroscopic and imaging techniques was used to follow the storage and cooking of an egg.

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