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Analysis of Fatty Acid Esters of Hydroxyl Fatty Acid in Selected Plant Food


Metabolic syndrome, characterized by obesity, low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and hypertension, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular mortality. Preclinical studies on recently discovered classes of lipids – fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFA) have revealed their anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing potential. The FAHFA levels are significantly decreased in insulin-resistant individuals, their application exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and restoring the glucose-insulin homeostasis. The aim of our research was to analyze the overall FAHFA composition in a common diet, as only a partial FAHFA composition has been revealed so far (only the PAHSA subclass was analyzed in a few foods). A new approach to the FAHFAs analysis includes nano-LC and post-column modifier followed by negative ion mass spectrometry, in order to obtain maximum sensitivity. Analysis of different foods – oat (whole grain, coarse flakes and fine flakes), apple, clementine, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, mango, kiwi, avocado, pineapple, banana, onion, garlic, cherry tomato, carrot, parsley root, pepper and radish – exhibited wide inter-food variation in the FAHFA profiles. Sixteen analyzed FAHFAs (palmitic, oleic, palmitoleic and stearic hydroxy-esters) showed microgram to low nanogram levels (0.165 ng/g – 32 μg/g FW), with the highest abundancy in oat, clementine, garlic and pineapple. Stearic acid hydroxy stearic acid (SAHSA) was the most abundant FAHFA, especially in the food with antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and beneficial metabolic effects. In contrary, the PAHSA - previously proven to have the strongest antihyperglycemic and insulin-sensitizing effects, was not present in some foods (radish, avocado, mango, lemon, cherry tomato, kiwi). Our study proves the importance of overall FAHFA analysis in food (especially in a functional food), because of their potential metabolic benefits and possible future incorporation in special diets.

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Fig. 1



Fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids


Oleic acid hydroxy oleic acid


Oleic acid hydroxy palmitic acid


Oleic acid hxdroxy palmitoleic acid


Oleic acid hydroxy stearic acid


Palmitic acid hydroxy palmitic acid


Palmitic acid hydroxy palmitoleic acid


Palmitic acid hydroxy oleic acid


Palmitic acid hydroxy stearic acid


Palmitoleic acid hydroxy oleic acid


Palmitoleic acid hydroxy palmitic acid


Palmitoleic acid hydroxy palmitoleic acid


Palmitoleic acid hydroxy stearic acid


Stearic acid hydroxy oleic acid


Stearic acid hydroxy palmitic acid


Stearic acid hydroxy palmitoleic acid


Stearic acid hydroxy stearic acid


Multiple reaction monitoring


Relative standard deviation


Analysis of variance


Honestly significant difference


DocosaHexaenoic acid hydroxy linoleic acid


Glucose transporter type 4


Ultra performance liquid chromatography


Multiple reaction monitoring


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Authors thank dr. sc. Jasmina Ranilovic, PhD from Podravka for providing oat samples and HrZZ childARTHRITISevolve 4771 project for financing SPE columns.

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Correspondence to Mario Cindrić.

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Liberati-Čizmek, AM., Biluš, M., Brkić, A.L. et al. Analysis of Fatty Acid Esters of Hydroxyl Fatty Acid in Selected Plant Food. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 74, 235–240 (2019).

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  • Bioactive food compounds
  • Fatty acid esters of hydroxyl fatty acids
  • FAHFA composition
  • Food analysis
  • Negative ion mass spectrometry