Techniques Involved in Lipid Research

The fact that lipids are soluble in organic solvents, but insoluble in water, provides the food analyst with a convenient method of separating the lipid components in foods from water soluble components, such as proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. In fact, solvent extraction techniques are one of the most commonly used methods of isolating lipids from foods and of determining the total lipid content of foods.

The aim of all extraction procedures is to separate cellular or fluid lipids from the other constituents, proteins, polysaccharides, small molecules (amino acids, sugars...) but also to preserve these lipids for further analyses.

There is a great diversity of methodologies because biological tissues are not similar when considering their structure, texture, sensitivities and lipid contents. The ideal solvent for lipid extraction would completely extract all the lipid components from a sample, while leaving all the other components behind. In practice, the efficiency of solvent extraction depends on the polarity of the lipids present compared to that of the solvent.

Polar lipids (such as glycolipids or phospholipids) are more soluble in polar solvents (such as alcohols), than in non-polar solvents (such as hexane). On the other hand, non-polar lipids (such as triacylglycerols) are more soluble in non-polar solvents than in polar ones. The fact that different lipids have different polarities means that it is impossible to select a single organic solvent to extract them all. Thus the total lipid content determined by solvent extraction depends on the nature of the organic solvent used to carry out the extraction: the total lipid content determined using one solvent may be different from that determined using another solvent.

The high sensitivity of the analytical methods needed for low amounts of extracted lipids requires the use of very pure solvents and clean glassware. The chemical nature of the extracted lipids must also be taken into consideration. 

Relevant Conferences

2nd  International Conference on Enzymology and Molecular Biology, March 20-21, 2017, Rome, Italy; 8th International Conference and Exhibition on Metabolomics & Systems Biology, May 08-10, 2017 Singapore; 2nd International Conference on Biochemistry September 28-29, 2017 Dubai, UAE; 9th International Conference on Bioinformatics October 23-24, 2017 Paris, France; 9th International Conference and Expo on Proteomics October 23-25, 2017 Paris, France; Third World Congress of Clinical Lipidology, February 10 -12, 2017 Brisbane, Australia; 15th Eurofed Lipid Congress: Oil, Fats and Lipids: New Technologies and Applications for a Healthier Life, August 27 – 30, 2017, Uppsala, Sweden; Fatty Acids and Lipids - Chemistry and Analysis Course, February 23 - 24, 2017, Dundee, Scotland; Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology: Lipidomics and Bioactive Lipids in Metabolism and Disease, February 26 - March 2, 2017, Tahoe City, California, USA; XX Lipid Meeting Leipzig, December 7 – 9, 2017, Leipzig, Germany; NLA Scientific Sessions – 2017, May 18-21, 2017, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC)
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
  • Gas Chromatography
  • Proteins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Amino acids
  • Polar lipids
  • Lipoprotein fractionation and characterization
  • Ultracentrifugation
  • Chromatography
  • Electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE, IEF, non-denaturing electrophoresis)
  • Immunoassays

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