"Bulk" Structure Searches
— Search Multiple Lipid Classes with a List of Precursor Ions

IMPORTANT: MS data (whether high or low resolution) with no fragmentation should only ever be used to search for “bulk”, or "chain composition", structures, which provide information on number of carbons and rings/double bonds. They should not be used to search for fully annotated lipids in terms of regiochemistry or geometry. For this reason, we provide interfaces for “bulk” lipid searches. Here, you can choose to search either COMP_DB or LMSD, as outlined below.

For either database, you can further interrogate “bulk” structures returned, to generate a list of potential structures from LMSD. COMP_DB search results also contain links, where appropriate, to lists of structures computationally-generated from all chain lengths.

COMP_DB is a virtual database composed of major classes of lipid species, generated from a list of commonly occuring acyl/alkyl chains. These "bulk" lipid species indicate the number of carbons and number of double bonds, but not chain positions or double bond regiochemistry and geometry.

COMP_DB will generally return a higher number of lipids, however many of those may not be relevant to mammalian samples. If users prefer to search on a list that is more applicable to plasma or cells, then LMSD is recommended.

Search COMP_DB

The LIPID MAPS Structure Database (LMSD) is a relational database encompassing structures and annotations of biologically relevant lipids. One can use this interface to search for "bulk", or "chain composition", structures — which provide information on number of carbons and rings/double bonds, but not regiochemistry or geometry — found in LMSD. While only “bulk” lipid species are shown in the initial search results, links from these "bulk" lipid species to corresponding fully annotated discrete lipids found in LMSD are provided.

As of 03/25/2019, LMSD contains 43348 unique lipid structures, making it the largest public lipid-only database in the world. Please note, however, that only lipids in categories Fatty Acyls [FA], Glycerolipids [GL], Glycerophospholipids [GP], and Sphingolipids [SP] are included in this search. Lipids in categories Sterol Lipids [ST], Prenol Lipids [PR], Saccharolipids [SL], and Polyketides [PK] are not amenable to representation by a "bulk" abbreviation.

Search LMSD

Statement of Compliance

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This search facility has been aligned with recommendations from the Lipidomics Standards Initiative.


Please see Shorthand notation for lipid structures derived from mass spectrometry. J Lipid Res. 2013 Jun;54(6):1523-30. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M033506 to learn more about how these "bulk" lipids are annotated.