Detection of 430 Fatty Acid Methyl Esters from a Transesterified Butter Sample

Original Paper


Milk fat is known to contain one of the highest number of fatty acids of all edible oils. Some of these fatty acids are known to be valuable (e.g. conjugated linoleic acids, furan fatty acid) and other as undesirable (e.g. saturated and some trans-fatty acids) food ingredients. However, a comprehensive picture on the presence of many trace fatty acids has not been achieved. For this reason we have developed an analysis scheme based on the conversion of the fatty acids into methyl esters. The fatty acid methyl esters were then fractionated by urea complexation. Both the filtrate of the urea complexation (~4 % of the sample weight) and the original sample were fractionated by high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC). The resulting fractions were analyzed by GC/MS analysis. With this method 430 fatty acids were detected in one single butter sample. More than 230 fatty acids had two or more double bonds. In addition to the widely known spectrum of fatty acids we also detected a range of cyclohexyl fatty acids (five homologues) and methyl-branched fatty acids (including short chain and even-numbered anteiso-fatty acids), conjugated tetradecadienoic acids along with the novel ω-oxo-fatty acids (seven homologues). The reported relative retention time on the polar column may serve as a data base for the screening of other samples for this profusion of fatty acids.


Butter Fatty acid analysis Urea complexation High-speed counter-current chromatography Mass spectrometry ω-Oxo-fatty acids Cyclohexyl fatty acids 



9-(3,4-Dimethyl-5-pentylfuran-2-yl)-nonanoic acid


9-(3-Methyl-5-pentylfuran-2-yl)-nonanoic acid


11-(3,4-Dimethyl-5-pentylfuran-2-yl)-undecanoic acid


11-(3-Methyl-5-pentylfuran-2-yl)-undecanoic acid


8-Methyl-decanoic acid


12-Methyl-tetradecanoic acid


14-Methyl-hexadecanoic acid


Conjugated linoleic acid


Conjugated tetradecadienoic acid


Fatty acid methyl ester(s)


Gas chromatography


Gas chromatography with mass spectrometry


High-speed counter-current chromatography


13-Methyl-tetradecanoic acid


15-Methyl-hexadecanoic acid


Partitioning coefficient (upper to lower phase)


Methyl branched fatty acid(s)


Polyunsaturated fatty acid(s)


Selected ion monitoring mode

Supplementary material

11746_2013_2218_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1950 kb)


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Food Chemistry (170b)University of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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