Fish oil made from menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) can be used as a dietary supplement for the presence of high levels of the long-chained omega-3 fatty acids, viz. epentaenoic and docosahexanoic. In this work, for the first time, two different multidimensional approaches were developed and compared, in terms of peak capacity, for triacylglycerol characterization. In particular, silver ion chromatography with a silver-ion column and non-aqueous reverse-phase liquid chromatography with a C18 column were tested in both comprehensive (stop-flow) and off-line modes. The use of mass spectra attained by atmospheric pressure chemical ionization for both LC approaches, and the fatty acids methyl esters profile of menhaden oil obtained by gas chromatography analysis, greatly supported the elucidation of the triacylglycerol content in menhaden oil. The off-line approach afforded a better separation and, thus, higher peak capacity to allow identifying and semiquantifying more than 250 triacylglycerols. Such a huge number has never been reported for a menhaden oil sample.The main disadvantage of such an approach over the stop-flow one was the longer analysis time, mainly attributable to solvent exchange between the two dimensions.
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This work has been carried out within the framework of the Research Project PRIN 2012: Assessment of quality and safety of Mediterranean seafoods by “omics” sciences, supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific Research, no. 2012TLC44W.