Investigation of natural phosphatidylcholine sources: separation and identification by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS2) of molecular species

J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jul 22;57(14):6014-20. doi: 10.1021/jf900903e.


This study is a contribution to the exploration of natural phospholipid (PL) sources rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) with nutritional interest. Phosphatidylcholines (PCs) were purified from total lipid extracts of different food matrices, and their molecular species were separated and identified by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS(2)). Fragmentation of lithiated adducts allowed for the identification of fatty acids linked to the glycerol backbone. Soy PC was particularly rich in species containing essential fatty acids, such as (18:2-18:2)PC (34.0%), (16:0-18:2)PC (20.8%), and (18:1-18:2)PC (16.3%). PC from animal sources (ox liver and egg yolk) contained major molecular species, such as (16:0-18:2)PC, (16:0-18:1)PC, (18:0-18:2)PC, or (18:0-18:1)PC. Finally, marine source (krill oil), which was particularly rich in (16:0-20:5)PC and (16:0-22:6)PC, appeared to be an interesting potential source for food supplementation with LC-PUFA-PLs, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / analysis
  • Egg Yolk / chemistry
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analysis
  • Euphausiacea / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / analysis
  • Food Analysis / methods*
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Oils / chemistry
  • Phosphatidylcholines / chemistry*
  • Phosphatidylcholines / isolation & purification
  • Soybeans / chemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Oils
  • Phosphatidylcholines
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid