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Simultaneous analysis of polar and non-polar components of cell membrane phospholipids by GC-MS

Václav M. Bierhanzl, Miroslava Bursová, Martin Ston, Radomír Čabala, and Gabriela Seydlová

Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Albertov 6, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic



Abstract: A rapid and selective GC-MS method was optimised for the simultaneous analysis of fatty acids, phosphoethanolamine, phosphoglycerol and phosphoserine, which comprise the polar headgroups of phospholipids. Enzymatic hydrolysis was used for sample preparation to selectively release fatty acids and prevent cleavage of the phosphoester bonds of the polar headgroups. A two-step consecutive derivatisation of the fatty acids and polar headgroups was applied to enable the simultaneous analysis of the selected analytes. The method was tested on samples of cell membrane phospholipids of Bacillus subtilis, a microbe with a broad spectrum of fatty acids. This approach can accelerate and simplify biotechnological research and quality control. The experimental conditions were optimised using a chemometric approach denoted as experimental design.

Keywords: bacterial membrane – branched-chain fatty acids – GC-MS – phospholipids – lipidomics – silylation

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2016-0073


Chemical Papers 70 (10) 1309–1315 (2016)

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