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A high-performance direct transmethylation method for total fatty acids assessment in biological and foodstuff samples

Castro-Gómez, Pilar, Fontecha, Javier, Rodríguez-Alcalá, Luis M.
Talanta 2014 v.128 pp. 518-523
catalysts, cholesterol, conjugated linoleic acid, derivatization, esterification, fatty acid composition, foods, hydroxy fatty acids, methylation, polyunsaturated fatty acids, protocols, short chain fatty acids, sodium, solvents, sulfuric acid
Isolation is the main bottleneck in the analysis of fatty acids in biological samples and foods. In the last few decades some methods described direct derivatization procedures bypassing these steps. They involve the utilization of methanolic HCL or BF3 as catalysts, but several evidences from previous works suggest these reagents are unstable, lead to the formation of artifacts and alter the distribution of specific compounds as hydroxy fatty acids or CLA. However, the main issue is that they are excellent esterification reagents but poor in transterification, being not suitable for the analysis of all lipid classes and leading to erroneous composition quantitations. The present research work is a comprehensive comparison of six general methylation protocols using base, acid or base/acid catalysts plus a proposed method in the analysis of total fatty acids in lipid standards mixtures, foodstuff and biological samples. The addition of aprotic solvents to the reaction mixture to avoid alterations was also tested. Results confirmed that procedures solely involving acid catalyst resulted in incomplete derivatizations and alteration of the fatty acid profile, partially corrected by addition of the aprotic solvent. The proposed method combining sodium methoxyde and sulfuric acid showed absence of alteration of the FAME profile and the best values for response factors (short chain fatty acids to PUFA), accuracy in the determination of total cholesterol and derivatization performance, thus showing a high reliability in the determination of the total fatty acid composition in biological samples and foods.