Corina E. Brown (University of Northern Colorado, USA), Jesus Tapia (University of Northern Colorado, USA), Richard Hyslop (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
Several methods for the analysis of fatty acid composition in natural products were examined for their utility and appropriateness in undergraduate teaching laboratories. The methods included trans-esterification as well as hydrolysis followed by esterification. Separation, identification, and quantification of individual fatty acids were performed by either GC-FID or GC-MS. Base-line separation was accomplished for all common fatty acid esters with the exception of 18:1 and 18:3; however, these two have sufficient resolution for identification. Modifications of the methods were made to make the protocols suitable for either undergraduate chemistry/biochemistry majors’ or nutrition majors’ teaching laboratories, depending on the existent skill levels of the respective group. Individual fatty acid composition in triglycerides or phospholipids or total fatty acid composition can be performed. The methods are versatile and may be adopted for a two-period analysis of fatty acid composition in a complex matrix or a one-period analysis of triglycerides such as butter, margarine or cooking oils.