Thin-layer chromatography combined with MALDI-TOF-MS and 31P-NMR to study possible selective bindings of phospholipids to silica gel

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Dec;398(7-8):2833-42. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4064-2. Epub 2010 Aug 9.


High-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) is a highly established separation method in the field of lipid and (particularly) phospholipid (PL) research. HPTLC is not only used to identify certain lipids in a mixture but also to isolate lipids (preparative TLC). To do this, the lipids are separated and subsequently re-eluted from the silica gel. Unfortunately, it is not yet known whether all PLs are eluted to the same extent or whether some lipids bind selectively to the silica gel. It is also not known whether differences in the fatty acyl compositions affect the affinities to the stationary phase. We have tried to clarify these questions by using a readily available extract from hen egg yolk as a selected example of a lipid mixture. After separation, the complete lanes or selected spots were eluted from the silica gel and investigated by a combination of MALDI-TOF MS and (31)P NMR spectroscopy. The data obtained were compared with the composition of the total extract (without HPTLC). Although there were significant, solvent-dependent losses in the amount of each lipid, the relative composition of the mixture remained constant; there were also only very slight changes in the fatty acyl compositions of the individual PL classes. Therefore, lipid isolation by TLC may be used without any risk of major sample alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Thin Layer / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Phospholipids / analysis
  • Phospholipids / chemistry*
  • Silica Gel / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Phospholipids
  • Silica Gel