, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 929–937 | Cite as

Fatty Acid Profile of the Initial Oral Biofilm (Pellicle): an In-Situ Study

  • Marco Reich
  • Klaus Kümmerer
  • Ali Al-Ahmad
  • Christian Hannig
Original Article


The first step of bioadhesion on dental surfaces is the formation of the acquired pellicle. This mainly acellular layer is formed instantaneously on all solid surfaces exposed to oral fluids. It is composed of proteins, glycoproteins and lipids. However, information on the lipid composition is sparse. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the fatty acid (FA) profile of the in-situ pellicle for the first time. Furthermore, the impact of rinses with safflower oil on the pellicle’s FA composition was investigated. Pellicles were formed in situ on bovine enamel slabs mounted on individual upper jaw splints. The splints were carried by ten subjects over durations of 3–240 min. After comprehensive sample preparation, gas chromatography coupled with electron impact ionization mass spectrometry (GC–EI/MS) was used in order to characterize qualitatively and quantitatively a wide range of FA (C12–C24). The relative FA profiles of the pellicle samples gained from different subjects were remarkably similar, whereas the amount of FA showed significant interindividual variability. An increase in FA in the pellicle was observed over time. The application of rinses with safflower oil resulted in an accumulation of its specific FA in the pellicle. Pellicle formation is a highly selective process that does not correlate directly with salivary composition, as shown for FA.


Fatty acid composition GC–MS Extraction Transesterification Biofilm Pellicle In situ Safflower oil Bioadhesion Saliva 



Bacterial acid methyl ester


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Electron impact


Fatty acid(s)


Fatty acid methyl ester(s)


Gas chromatography


Internal standard


Liquid chromatography


Limit of quantification


Mass spectrometry


Mass selective detector


Quality control


Retention time


Selected ion monitoring


Transmission electron microscopy


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Reich
    • 1
  • Klaus Kümmerer
    • 1
  • Ali Al-Ahmad
    • 2
  • Christian Hannig
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Sustainability, Institute of Sustainable and Environmental ChemistryLeuphana University LüneburgLüneburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Operative Dentistry and PeriodontologyAlbert-Ludwigs Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, Clinic of Operative DentistryTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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