Mass Spectrometry of Methyl Ester Derivatives of Fatty Acids

Methyl esters have always been the first choice for gas chromatographic analysis in the determination of fatty acid compositions. Many simple methods are available for their preparation (including here) and they have been key elements in countless studies although they are not ideal for mass spectrometric analysis. In particular with electron-impact ionization, limited information only can be obtained on double bond positions, although many other structural features can be identified. However, it is often convenient to analyse new sample first as methyl esters before progressing to alternatives. I have no experience of the newer technique of chemical-ionization mass spectrometry with acetonitrile as the reagent gas, but a bibliography of references is available below for those who wish to pursue this approach. These web pages are updated regularly as new information and mass spectra become available.

Recommended Book: Christie, W.W. and Han, X. Lipid Analysis - Isolation, Separation, Identification and Lipidomic Analysis (17th edition), 446 pages (Oily Press, Woodhead Publishing and now Elsevier) (2010) - at Science Direct.

Credits/disclaimer/contact Updated: March 26th, 2021 Author: William W. Christie LipidWeb icon