Glycomics is the study of all glycans, monosaccharides bound through glycosidic linkages, within an organism, tissue, cell, or other material. Each organism has a unique carbohydrate glycome that can vary with tissue type, time, and environmental conditions. Glycans can be free within the sample or bound to protein or lipid scaffolds. Technological breakthroughs utilizing a myriad of techniques now enable the characterization of samples’ glycomes despite their complex nature. There are three primary levels of glycan analysis with increasing specificity; however, combinations and customizations of these levels are possible:
- Glycoprofiling identifies the fingerprint of the sample’s glycome.
- Glycan class characterization separates glycans into classes and defines their key features. Class quantification can also be performed.
- Detailed structural analysis determines the specific monosaccharide building blocks and linkages of each glycan as well as identifying anomers. These analyses can also include glycan quantification.
Peptidomics is a relatively new and frequently neglected branch of proteomics that is highly relevant to the food industry. Peptides are key compounds in biological systems with diverse functions and are often released during food processing. Peptidomic analysis involves many methods and technologies to accomplish goals such as identifying and quantifying all peptides present in a sample. The peptides’ post-translational modifications can also be determined with peptidomics methods. These processes involve many steps including extraction, fractionation, detection, and bioinformatic data processing to isolate and identify the peptides.