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. 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, or of other soft ionization procedures, but a bibliography of selected references is available below for those who wish to pursue this approach. These web pages are updated whenever new information and mass spectra become available.

Recommended Book: Christie, W.W. and Han, X. Lipid Analysis - Isolation, Separation, Identification and Lipidomic Analysis (4th edition), 446 pages (Oily Press, Woodhead Publishing and now Elsevier) (2010) - at Science Direct.

© Author: William W. Christie LipidWeb icon
Updated: November 8th, 2023 Contact/credits/disclaimer