The exposome and exposomics: Monitor environmental exposure and health with mass spectrometry

Technology innovation such as high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry has paved the way toward a comprehensive study of the exposome.

The exposome was introduced by C.P. Wild in 2005 as a concept for studying the relationship between chemical exposures and nonchemical factors (such as  diet, lifestyle and social behaviors) and how these interact with the unique characteristics of humans (such as genetics, physiology and epigenetics) to impact our health. 1-3

This multi-disciplinary approach has been adopted by many research areas, including environmental epidemiology, health risk assessment and environmental and human biomonitoring.4-6 Traditional measurements of exposure include targeted monitoring and untargeted discovery of unknown chemicals.1,4 Exposomics takes this a step further to measure internal exposures, relying on metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics to assess health and disease effects.

The exposome deals with thousands of environmental factors that vary by time, place and source. The most significant challenge for epidemiological research is that these factors fluctuate over a lifetime, changing due to aging, infections, lifestyle, stress, preexisting disease, psychosocial issues and other factors.7 Moreover, as with most omics-based studies, exposomics also needs you to analyze a wide range of molecules with varying chemical properties and a broad range of concentrations.

Clearly you need a characterization strategy that is effective for targeted and non-targeted screening and quantification.

High-throughput analysis using high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry

Expand the potential of your exposomics analysis with high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry. SCIEX high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry offers you specificity, sensitivity and reliability for your qualitative and quantitative environmental analyses, including targeted and non-targeted screening methods. Get ready to:

  • Detect and identify low levels of chemicals in complex matrices
  • Reduce the risk of missing a critical component, while skipping out on laborious sample preparation, with SWATH® Acquisition
  • Perform targeted library database searching to quickly identify known chemical hazards
  • Survey for unknowns with smart and effective software that delivers easy-to-use structural elucidation tools for reliable compound identification
  1. Miller, G.W. and Jones, D.P. The nature of nurture: refining the definition of the exposome. Toxicological Sciences 2013, 137(1), 1–2. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kft251
  2. Wild, C.P. Complementing the genome with an "exposome": the outstanding challenge of environmental exposure measurement in molecular epidemiology. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2005, 14(8), 1847–1850. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.epi-05-0456
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Exposome and Exposomics, 2014. Available online:
  4. Rappaport, S.M. Implications of the exposome for exposure science. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology 2010, 21(1), 5–9. doi: 10.1038/jes.2010.50
  5. Lioy, P.J. and Rappaport, S.M. Exposure science and the exposome: an opportunity for coherence in the environmental health sciences. Environmental Health Perspectives 2011, 119(11), a466–a467. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104387
  6. Dennis, K.K.; Marder, E.; Balshaw, D.M. et al. Biomonitoring in the era of the exposome. Environmental Health Perspectives 2017, 125(4), 502–510. doi: 10.1289/ehp47
  7. Rappaport, S.M. and Smith, M.T. Environment and disease risks. Science 2010, 330(6003), 460–461. doi: 10.1126/science.1192603
6-month study of the pesticide desphenyl-chloridazon in natural water
X500R QTOF System

This easy-to-use accurate mass spectrometer system analyzes data faster using the power of SWATH® Acquisition.

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QTRAP® systems

Employ the MRM sensitivity of a triple quadrupole system to get even better identification and quantification.

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All-In-One HR-MS/MS Library Version 2.0 with NIST

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