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Mass Spectrometry of 3-Pyridylcarbinol ('picolinyl')
Esters of Fatty Acids



My favourite type of derivative for identification of fatty acids by GC-MS is the 3‑pyridylcarbinol ester, at least in mass spectrometry terms, although some would argue in favour of DMOX derivatives. Personal opinions aside, it is always advisable to prepare more than one type of derivative for analysis with novel samples. The relatively high molecular weight of 3-pyridylcarbinol esters means that higher column temperatures are required than with other derivatives, but many of the modern polar stationary phases are sufficiently stable thermally to cope. In addition to analysis by GC, they can be separated by reversed-phase HPLC under appropriate conditions as described here... Please note that the term 'picolinyl' ester is inaccurate and is best avoided as explained in our introductory page.


Recommended Book - Christie, W.W. and Han, X. Lipid Analysis - Isolation, Separation, Identification and Lipidomic Analysis (4th edition), 446 pages (Oily Press, Woodhead Publishing and now Elsevier) (2010) - at Science Direct.

As I am able to update them regularly, my web pages here are much more up-to-date and accurate, and they are far better illustrated than obsolete versions elsewhere.

Credits/disclaimer Updated: January 17th, 2017 Author: William W. Christie LipidWeb icon