Chemometric analysis of mass spectra of cis and trans fatty acid picolinyl esters

Torben Leth

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Capillary GC of fatty acid methyl esters with MS detection only yields information about the molecular weight of the compound. However, if picolinyl esters of fatty acids are analysed in this way it is possible to obtain more information about their structure, perhaps even the cis or trans configuration. Picolinyl esters of fatty acids are prepared by adding carbonyl-diimidazole, 3-hydroxy-methylpyridine and 4-pyrrolidin-o-pyridine to a solution of free fatty acids in dichloromethane. The picolinyl esters dissolved in heptane are then separated by capillary GC on a CP Sil 88 column equipped with a quadropole MS-detector. The mass spectra clearly show the molecular weight and the position of double bonds in the fatty acids, but whether the configuration is cis or trans is impossible to discern visually. However, with the use of principal component analysis, it is possible to distinguish between cis and trans fatty acids of C16:1, C18:1,n-9, C18:1,n-12, C18:2 and C22:1 in two- and three-dimensional score plots. With Soft Independent Modelling of Class Analogy (SIMCA), it is possible to calculate models that can predict from the mass spectra of unknown fatty acids whether they are of the cis or trans configuration, which is demonstrated for C18:1 trans from hardened margarine and butter.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZeitschrift fuer Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und -Forschung. A, Food research and technology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)111-115
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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