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Automating the Extraction and Derivatisation of Fats and Oils

Martin Perkins

2nd May 2013


Chocolate Peanuts

The determination of the fatty acid composition of fats and oils in foods involves three stages:

  1. The extraction of the lipids from the food matrix.
  2. Derivatisation of the lipid extract to form the fatty acid methyl esters.
  3. Analysis of the derivatised extract by GC-FID.

Traditionally, the extraction and derivatisation have been manual processes that are both tedious, and error prone.

Automation of the derivatisation is straightforward and is certainly worth doing however, the greatest efficiency saving comes when the whole process can be automated end-to end, and people can be freed entirely, for work on other tasks.

Until now, the extraction of the lipids from the food has been tough to automate. Food samples come in a vast array of different types, with widely varying characteristics (think of peanuts one day, chocolate the next). Ideally, what is needed is a generic extraction that can be applied to most of the samples that a lab will encounter and which integrates seamlessly with the automated derivatisation and analysis.

John Stuff and Jackie Whitecavage are applications chemists with GERSTEL Inc. in Baltimore, USA, and have developed a solution for this application based upon the GERSTEL MPS MultiPurpose Sampler and this has attracted a lot of attention internationally. John and Jackie have just recently published an application note on this topic.

I am pleased to say that John will be presenting this work at our conferences in June (in the North and in the South), so if you think this is something that looks useful to you, there is an excellent, one-time opportunity for you to discuss this work with the person who has carried it out.

Details of our conferences can be found here or you can call Susan Roach on 01223 279210.

If you aim to attend, please book early!!