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Understanding Fatty Acids and Their Importance

Fatty acids, key components of lipids, play vital roles in health and industry. They are categorized into saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated types. Fatty acid profiling, crucial for understanding nutritional value and health implications, ensures product quality, safety, and compliance with standards. These include national and international food safety regulations, health guidelines, and nutritional labelling standards.


By adhering to these standards, industries can guarantee that their products meet the required health and safety criteria, thus maintaining consumer trust and regulatory compliance.

For detailed information on specific standards and regulations, it’s best to consult authoritative sources or regulatory bodies related to food and health products.


Food Industry: Ensuring Nutritional Accuracy and Quality

Fatty acid profiling verifies nutritional content in food labels, focusing on Omega-3 (EPA and DHA), Omega-6,Trans and Saturated Fats. This ensures label accuracy and compliance with nutritional standards. Oxidation Testing, including Peroxide Value and Free Acid Value assessments, provides critical data on product stability, essential for maintaining freshness in oils and fat-containing products. Sterol testing further validates cholesterol management claims, enhancing product credibility.


Agriculture: Advancing Animal Nutrition and Health

Fatty acid profiling of animal feed optimizes diets, leading to healthier livestock and increased productivity. Health Monitoring tests like Serum Phospholipids and Tissue Fatty Acids provide insights for preventive health measures. Glycerophospholipids Testing supports the development of fortified feeds, improving animal health and growth.


Natural Health Products for Humans and Pets: Upholding Product Integrity

For natural health products, Fatty Acid Validation ensures the authenticity of Omega-3 supplements, building customer trust. Vitamin E Effectiveness is verified through Tocopherol testing, proving potency and efficacy crucial for standing out in the competitive supplement market.


Research and Development: Innovating for the Future

In R&D, Oxidation Testing is vital for developing food and health products with enhanced shelf-life and stability. Glycerophospholipids Testing in functional foods aids in creating products with targeted health benefits, supporting innovative efforts in nutraceuticals.

These specialized tests are essential in each sector for ensuring quality, efficacy, and compliance, enhancing product value and consumer trust.


Fatty Acid Profiles: Methods and Techniques in Analysis

Fatty acids are typically analyzed using gas chromatography (GC) after their conversion into fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs). This method is favoured as FAMEs are more accessible to separate and quantify than triglycerides or free fatty acids. The process usually begins with saponification, which liberates fatty acids from triglycerides and other lipid forms, resulting in free acids. These free acids are then trans-esterified to form FAMEs. An extraction step is necessary to release the fat for analysis for samples that aren’t pure fats and oils. This involves hydrolyzing most solid samples with strong acid and/or alkali, followed by extraction with organic solvents. To accurately quantify the fatty acid content as a weight percentage of the sample, a synthetic fatty acid (like C13:0, C19:0, C21:0, or C23:0) is added as an internal standard before extraction. This step compensates for variability in sample preparation and analysis.


The separation of FAMEs is performed on the GC, and their quantification is done using a flame ionization detector (FID). Wax-type capillary columns are used for basic chain length and saturation analysis. Highly polar capillary columns are necessary to differentiate cis versus trans isomerization. The FID burns the FAMEs to produce ions, creating an electrical current measured and plotted in the chromatogram as a response.


Here is a complete menu of tests by sector served.


Food Industry:

  • Fatty Acid Profiling: Ensures nutritional value and supports label claims for fats in food products.
    • Total Fatty Acids (Total Fat), Total Neutral Lipids (Triglycerides, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides), Saturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Omega-3, Omega-6, Trans Fat, EPA, DHA, DPA, Alpha-Linolenic Acid, Linolenic Acid,
    • Individual Glycerphospholipids (PE, PS, PA, etc.) and Total Phospholipids
  • Oxidation Testing: Guarantees freshness and shelf-life for oils and fat-containing products.
    • Peroxide Value
    • Acid Value
    • Anisidine Value
    • ToTox (Total Toxicity)
  • Sterols: Important for products claiming cholesterol and/or plant sterol management benefits.
    • Cholesterol
    • Beta-Sitosterol
    • Brassicasterol
    • Stigmasterol
    • Other by request
  • Physical Properties Testing: Defines texture and quality of food products.
    • Density / Sample Weight
    • Melting Point / Slip Point
    • Capsule Weight Testing



  • Fatty Acid Profiling: Assists in enhancing the nutritional profile of animal feeds.
    • Total Fatty Acids (Total Fat), Total Neutral Lipids (Triglycerides, Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, Omega-3, Omega-6, Trans Fat, EPA, DHA, DPA, Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated
    • Phospholipids (Total Phospholipids) 
  • Human/Animal/Biological Samples: Monitors and improves the health of livestock through nutrient analysis.
    • Serum Phospholipids, Tissues Fatty Acids, Whole Blood, Serum/Plasma
  • Glycerophospholipids: Key for developing fortified feeds to improve the health and productivity of farm animals.
    • PE, PC, PA, PS


Natural Health Products for Humans and Pets:

  • Fatty Acid Profiling: Validates the content of omega fatty acids and other health-promoting fats.
    • Total Fatty Acids, Total Free Fatty Acids
  • Tocopherols and Tocotrienols: Ensures the effectiveness of Vitamin E supplements.
    • Alpha-Tocopherol, Gamma-Tocotrienol
  • Glycerophospholipids: Crucial for creating supplements aimed at improving cognitive and joint health.
    • PE, PC, PA, PS
  • Stability Testing: Confirms the longevity and potency of health supplements under various storage conditions.


Research and Development:

  • Oxidation Testing: Provides insights into the oxidative stability and potential shelf-life of new food and health products.
    • p-Anisidine Value, Total Toxicity (Totox)
  • Glycerophospholipids: Helps to innovate functional foods and nutraceuticals with specific health benefits.
    • PE, PC, PA, PS
  • Tocopherols and Tocotrienols: Supports the development of antioxidants in food preservation and health supplements.
    • Beta-Tocopherol, Delta-Tocotrienol
  • Other Testing Services: Assists in formulating and refining product physical properties for market readiness.
    • Capsule Weight, Crude Fat (by weight)