Hypothesis: the sound of the individual metabolic phenotype? Acoustic detection of NMR experiments

S. Cacciatore, E. Saccenti, M. Piccioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We present here an innovative hypothesis and report preliminary evidence that the sound of NMR signals could provide an alternative to the current representation of the individual metabolic fingerprint and supply equally significant information. The NMR spectra of the urine samples provided by four healthy donors were converted into audio signals that were analyzed in two audio experiments by listeners with both musical and non-musical training. The listeners were first asked to cluster the audio signals of two donors on the basis of perceived similarity and then to classify unknown samples after having listened to a set of reference signals. In the clustering experiment, the probability of obtaining the same results by pure chance was 7.04% and 0.05% for non-musicians and musicians, respectively. In the classification experiment, musicians scored 84% accuracy which compared favorably with the 100% accuracy attained by sophisticated pattern recognition methods. The results were further validated and confirmed by analyzing the NMR metabolic profiles belonging to two other different donors. These findings support our hypothesis that the uniqueness of the metabolic phenotype is preserved even when reproduced as audio signal and warrants further consideration and testing in larger study samples
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-156
JournalOMICS - A Journal of Integrative Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • breast-cancer
  • personalized medicine
  • disease
  • profiles
  • models
  • health
  • time
  • classification
  • identification
  • metabonomics


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