Body Composition Analysis (BCA) Using minispec Analyzer

Time-domain NMR, also known as TD-NMR, allows a simple measurement of body composition in conscious animals.

Body Composition Analysis

  • Whole animal body composition analysis
  • Not harmful for animals
  • Non-invasive
  • Short analysis time (minutes)
  • No need for anesthetics
  • Highly reproducible method
  • Allows for a high animal throughput
  • Enables real longitudinal studies
  • Careful animal handling

The important application of TD-NMR relaxometry in body composition analysis (BCA) of rats and mice has been confirmed by a number of studies in the pharmaceutical industry [1]. DEXA or chemical analysis is known to be a harmful treatment, but in TD-NMR relaxometry the animal is merely brought into magnetic fields similar to the popular clinical MRI.

The analysis is also completed within a few minutes, which minimizes the stress experienced by the animals. The animals are conscious and unavoidable movements are also limited, because the methodology is optimized and quite forgiving in this regard. Introduced in 2001, the relaxometric TD-NMR method has rapidly gained widespread market acceptance as a robust, non-invasive and non-destructive tool for screening, characterizing and phenotyping animal models with regards to body composition.

Dedicated NMR Instrument for Challenging Envi­ronments

With a footprint of roughly 70 cm x 110 cm, TD-NMR systems are very compact and can be easily installed in the mice barn. The shielded magnet box and sealed electronics prevent dust buildup, making cleaning simple and easy. Data analysis can either be performed directly on the workstation employed to operate the system, or can be transferred automatically through LIMS/network for processing on a central data station.

The minispec magnet on cart for vertical and horizontal access

The minispec magnet on cart for vertical and horizontal access

TD-NMR analysis prevents time-consuming and labor-intensive dissection methods, wet chemical or DEXA measurements. The minispec analyzer can be easily operated and animal handling is made simple and easy.

Since the method is non-destructive, animals can be frequently tested thus allowing longitudinal observation of body composition on the same animal both during growth and therapeutic research.

Specifications of the minispec Analyzer

  • Maximum inner diameter of the mice container: 48 mm
  • Maximum mass of mice: Approximately 50 g (corresponding to 80 ml volume); the minispec LF90 is recommended for larger animals up to 650 g
  • Calibration with standards, with animals or in accordance with special user requirements
  • Precision and accuracy: about 1% of total mass
  • Alternative to the standard system: horizontal access to the magnet
  • Measurement frequency: 7.5 MHz
  • Microsoft Windows system for data acquisition together with a Microsoft Access data base enabling safe data management with little user effort
  • Easy-to-use interface for easy operation during measurement series
  • CE conformity
  • ISO 9001:2000 certified

BCA workflow:

Graphical User Interface minispec Plus:

  • User is guided through measurement process
  • Measurement results are kept in a data base, but they can also be sent to the user’s data systems
  • Direct communication with a balance: Easy and reliable transfer of mice mass
  • Calibration procedure: reliable and simple with full flexibility
  • For advanced users: access to the NMR timing parameters enabling an easy adaptation of standards to special requirements


  1. B. Künnecke et al., Obesity Research, 12, 1604 (2004)

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Last updated: Mar 11, 2023 at 2:02 AM


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