Fast track to hierarchical shorthand notation for lipid mass-spectrometric (MS) data

Aim: Find correct shorthand notation for lipid data fitting validated MS-output.

Hierarchical concept: Depending on the resolution power of the MS-based method applied, shorthand notation represents the respective level of lipid structural information. At a low-resolution level, e.g. Species-level (Sum composition), assumptions by “biological intelligence” can be stated, the highest is Complete structure level as shown in LMSD (= common name).

Based on Liebisch et al. J. Lipid Res. 61, 1–17 (2020), the fast-track version presents succinct application rules and provides examples for hierarchical shorthand notation in table format.

Addressed are lipids of LIPID MAPS Categories Fatty Acyls (FA), Glycerolipids (GL), Glyerophospholipids (GP), Sphingolipids (SP), and Sterols (ST) with pertinent curated updates fitting script-based algorithms.


General rules for lipid shorthand notations Annotation of isotope-labelled lipids Abbreviations of functional groups/side chains and carbohydrate structures Hierarchy of lipid structural information


  1. Fatty acyls (FA) and conjugates
  2. Glycerolipids (GL)
  3. Glycerophospholipids (GP)
  4. Sphingolipids (SP)
  5. Sterols (ST)