, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 15–21 | Cite as

Trans fatty acid isomers in Canadian human milk

  • Z. -Y. Chen
  • G. Pelletier
  • R. Hollywood
  • W. M. N. Ratnayake


The fatty acid composition, totaltrans content (i.e., sum of all the fatty acids which may have one or moretrans double bonds) and geometric and positional isomer distribution of unsaturated fatty acids of 198 human milk samples collected in 1992 from nine provinces of Canada were determined using a combination of capillary gas-liquid chromatography and silver nitrate thin-layer chromatography. The mean totaltrans fatty acid content was 7.19±3.03% of the total milk fatty acids and ranged from 0.10 to 17.15%. Twenty-five of the 198 samples contained more than 10% totaltrans fatty acids, and thirteen samples contained less than 4%. Totaltrans isomers of linoleic acid were 0.89% of the total milk fatty acids with 18∶2Δ9c, 13t being the most prevalent isomer, followed by 18∶2Δ9c, 12t and 18∶2Δ9t, 12c. Using the totaltrans values in human milk determined in the present study, the intake of totaltrans fatty acids from various dietary sources by Canadian lactating women was estimated to be 10.6±3.7 g/person/d, and in some individuals, the intake could be as high as 20.3 g/d. The 18∶1trans isomer distribution differed from that of cow's milk fat but was remarkably similar to that in partially hydrogenated soybean and canola oils, suggesting that partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the major source of thesetrans fatty acids.


Human Milk Trans Isomer Trans Fatty Acid Trans Fatty Acid Content Human Milk Sample 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



silver nitrate thin-layer chromatography




fatty acid methyl esters


gas-liquid chromatography


high-trans milk


low-trans milk


medium-trans milk


partially hydrogenated canola oil


partially hydrogenated soybean oil




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Copyright information

© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. -Y. Chen
    • 1
  • G. Pelletier
    • 1
  • R. Hollywood
    • 1
  • W. M. N. Ratnayake
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutrition Research Division, Food Directorate, Health Protection BranchHealth CanadaOttawaCanada

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