Anal Bioanal Chem. 2022 Jun 20. doi: 10.1007/s00216-022-04158-5. Online ahead of print.
A comprehensive metabolomic strategy, integrating 1H NMR and MS-based multi-block modelling in conjunction with multi-informational molecular networking, has been developed to discriminate sponges of the order Haplosclerida, well known for being taxonomically contentious. An in-house collection of 33 marine sponge samples belonging to three families (Callyspongiidae, Chalinidae, Petrosiidae) and four different genera (Callyspongia, Haliclona, Petrosia, Xestospongia) was investigated using LC-MS/MS, molecular networking, and the annotations processes combined with NMR data and multivariate statistical modelling. The combination of MS and NMR data into supervised multivariate models led to the discrimination of, out of the four genera, three groups based on the presence of metabolites, not necessarily previously described in the Haplosclerida order. Although these metabolomic methods have already been applied separately, it is the first time that a multi-block untargeted approach using MS and NMR has been combined with molecular networking and statistically analyzed, pointing out the pros and cons of this strategy.