Comparison of methods for determining the fatty acid composition of photosynthetic tissues

I.M. Witkowska, M. Lourenço, V. Fievez, K. Arvidsson, A.M. Gustavsson, A. Elgersma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


The fatty acid (FA) composition of photosynthetic tissue differs from that in other plant or animal tissues. In leaves, the lipid fraction constitutes less than 10% of the dry weight and is mostly located in the chloroplasts. An extraction solvent should dissolve polar lipids readily, but should also overcome interactions between the lipids and the tissue matrix. A mixture of chloroform/methanol (C/M) is commonly used. However, less toxic alternative methods such as hexane/isopropanol (H/I) and ethanol (E) have been suggested. In this preliminary study we compared the effectiveness of these three methods which are used as standard extraction protocols for FA analysis of plant material at three different European Universities. C/M extraction gave the highest total FA content and H/I the lowest, suggesting that C/M is indeed the best general-purpose lipid extraction solvent. Significant differences were also observed for FA composition including the ratio of saturated to unsaturated FA indicating selectivity of the various solvents in extracting different individual FA. Further and more detailed investigations are required to confirm this hypothesis
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Advances in the Biochemistry and Cell Biology of Plant Lipids. Proceedings of the 17th Int Symp on Plant Lipids, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA, July 2006
EditorsC. Benning, J. Ohlrogge
Place of PublicationSalt Lake City
PublisherAardvark Global Publishing Company
ISBN (Print)9781427619655
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventProceedings of the 17th Int Symp on Plant Lipids -
Duration: 16 Jul 200621 Jul 2006


ConferenceProceedings of the 17th Int Symp on Plant Lipids


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