Brian W. Kail, Dirk D. Link, Bryan D. A method for selectively determining both free fatty acids FFA and triacylglycerides TAGs in biological oils was investigated and optimized using gas chromatography after esterification of the target species to their corresponding fatty acid methyl esters FAMEs. The method used acid catalyzed esterification in methanolic solutions under conditions of varying severity to achieve complete conversion of more reactive FFAs while preserving the concentration of TAGs. Method validation was provided using gas chromatography—flame ionization detection, gas chromatography—mass spectrometry, and liquid chromatography—mass spectrometry.

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We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. Theoretically, preparation of fatty acid methyl esters FAMEs deals with reversible chemical reactions in a complex system. Methodologically, there are numerous ways, generally characterized by the type of catalysts used and steps involved. Although these methods are capable of providing reliable estimates if some precautions are taken, they are cumbersome, time-consuming and cost-inefficient.

A new approach has been to transmethylate lipids in situ. Due to its simplicity, high sensitivity, comparable reliability and capability to determine total fatty acids, the method of direct transmethylation is finding a unique place in lipid determination. Regardless of which method is used, quantitative methylation requires chemists to take precautions at every step involved, particularly during FAME formation and subsequent recovery steps.

Evidently, there is an urgent need for more systematic studies, guided by the chemical principle of reactions involved and physicochemical properties of regents and end products, into factors affecting these steps. Hopefully, this will lead to an improved method, which measures lipid composition in biological materials not only with high accuracy but also with high efficiency and minimum costs.

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