Direct characterization of commercial lecithins by easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry

Gabriel D Fernandes, Rosana M Alberici, Gustavo G Pereira, Elaine C Cabral, Marcos N Eberlin, Daniel Barrera-Arellano
Food Chemistry 2012 December 1, 135 (3): 1855-60
Commercial lecithins are composed mainly of phospholipids and triacylglycerols. The analysis of the commercial lecithins, including their fraction of phospholipids, normally involves laborious and expensive protocols. Easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry (EASI-MS) is shown to be an efficient technique for the analysis of lipids. Samples of commercial lecithins including standards, refined, deoiled and modified soy lecithin were tested. Characteristic profiles of phosphatidylcholines and triacylglycerols are detected by EASI(+)-MS, whereas EASI(-)-MS provided phosphatidylethanolamines, glycophospholipids and free fatty acids profiles. Acetylated lecithins also displayed characteristic acetylated derivatives. EASI-MS data was also compared to MALDI-MS, and found to display richer compositional information. The industrial process applied to lecithin fabrication was also characterised via typical EASI-MS profiles. EASI-MS both in its positive and negative ion modes offers a direct, fast and efficient technique able to characterise commercial lecithin.

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