Salivary Metabolomics: From Diagnostic Biomarker Discovery to Investigating Biological Function

Alexander Gardner, Guy Carpenter, Po-Wah So (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Metabolomic profiling of biofluids, e.g., urine, plasma, has generated vast and ever-increasing amounts of knowledge over the last few decades. Paradoxically, metabolomic analysis of saliva, the most readily-available human biofluid, has lagged. This review explores the history of saliva-based metabolomics and summarizes current knowledge of salivary metabolomics. Current applications of salivary metabolomics have largely focused on diagnostic biomarker discovery and the diagnostic value of the current literature base is explored. There is also a small, albeit promising, literature base concerning the use of salivary metabolomics in monitoring athletic performance. Functional roles of salivary metabolites remain largely unexplored. Areas of emerging knowledge include the role of oral host-microbiome interactions in shaping the salivary metabolite profile and the potential roles of salivary metabolites in oral physiology, e.g., in taste perception. Discussion of future research directions describes the need to begin acquiring a greater knowledge of the function of salivary metabolites, a current research direction in the field of the gut metabolome. The role of saliva as an easily obtainable, information-rich fluid that could complement other gastrointestinal fluids in the exploration of the gut metabolome is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Early online date26 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Crevicular fluid
  • Gingival
  • MS
  • Metabolic profiling
  • NMR
  • Oral microbiome
  • Parotid saliva
  • Submandibular/ sublingual fluid
  • Whole-mouth saliva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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