Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 8, Issue 10, pp 2568–2580 | Cite as

Comprehensive Study of the Lipid Classes of Krill Oil by Fractionation and Identification of Triacylglycerols, Diacylglycerols, and Phospholipid Molecular Species by Using UPLC/QToF-MS

  • María Pilar Castro-Gómez
  • Francisca Holgado
  • Luis Miguel Rodríguez-Alcalá
  • Olimpio Montero
  • Javier FontechaEmail author


Krill oil represents an interesting source of bioactive lipid components, being suitable as a functional ingredient. This oil is characterized by its high concentration of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The contents of EPA and DHA were similar to those in fish oils, but with the difference that almost the half are located in phospholipids (mainly phosphatidylcholine). This might explain its higher absorption and bioavailability. This highly unsaturated oil maintains stable due to the presence of astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, which assures the stability of the omega-3 fatty acids. However, there is lack of investigations reporting a deep comprehensive description of the krill oil (KO) lipid composition. The characterization includes new data of its neutral and polar components and the identification of triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, and molecular species that has been done by different chromatographic techniques as gas chromatography–mass spectrometry/flame ionization detector (GC-MS/FID), flash chromatography–evaporative light scattering detector (FC-ELSD), and HPLC-ELSD. Also phospholipid molecular species by using ultraperformance liquid chromatography/quadruple-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC/QToF-MS) have been determined.


Fatty acid Krill oil Lipid classes Phospholipid Chromatography techniques 



This work has been financially supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation AGL 2011-26713.

Conflict of Interest

María Pilar Castro-Gómez declares that she has no conflict of interest. Francisca Holgado declares that she has no conflict of interest. Luis Miguel Rodríguez-Alcalá declares that he has no conflict of interest. Olimpio Montero declares that he has no conflict of interest. Javier Fontecha declares that he has no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Pilar Castro-Gómez
    • 1
  • Francisca Holgado
    • 1
  • Luis Miguel Rodríguez-Alcalá
    • 1
  • Olimpio Montero
    • 2
  • Javier Fontecha
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL, CSIC-UAM)Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Biotechnology Development (CDB, CSIC)ValladolidSpain

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