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FAME – Fatty Acid Methyl Ester analysis

What Is FAME Analysis and Why Is It Important?

FAME analysis, or Fatty Acid Methyl Ester analysis, is a method used to determine and measure the fatty acid profile of a sample. This involves transforming the fatty acids into their methyl esters, which are then meticulously analysed using techniques like gas chromatography (GC). Fatty acids are present in various substances, including oils, food items, environmental samples, and biological tissues. FAME analysis provides crucial insights into lipid metabolism, nutritional value, environmental conditions, and microbial populations within samples. Fatty Acid Methyl Ester analysis plays a vital role in enhancing the taste, texture, and shelf life of food products.

Fatty Acid GC Analysis

Gas chromatography (GC) is frequently employed for FAME analysis because of its high resolution, sensitivity, and capability to separate and identify individual fatty acids in a mixture. The process starts with extracting fatty acids from a sample and converting them into their methyl ester derivatives via esterification. These derivatives are then injected into the GC, which separates the individual FAME compounds based on their chemical properties. This results in a detailed profile of the sample’s fatty acid composition.

GOED Recommended FAME Analysis Equipment

SCION Instruments has been named the recommended equipment for Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) analysis by The GOED, the Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids.Guidance documents released in June 2020 mentioned SCION Instruments 436-GC with PTV as the recommended equipment for getting optimal results for analysis of fatty acids. (The 8300 GC is the next generation 436 instrument, delivering the same excellent performance) – Read full document

To obtain optimal analytical recovery of the FAME’s components, the choice of the inlet system is critical. It required an inlet that prevents selective evaporation and reduces thermal cracking to a minimum. The unique design of the SCION PTV inlet achieves these things, thereby preventing losses of the polyunsaturated fatty acids such as DHA and EPA. The SCION PTV is recognized by the industry as the go to inlet for the analysis of FAME composition and is able to achieve near 100% recovery.

FAME – Fatty Acid Methyl Ester analysis


Nutrition Quantification

FAMEs analysis is the primary technique for quantifying and characterizing fats and oils in food products, ensuring accurate nutritional labelling. With the increasing demand for the analysis of oils, fats, and fat-containing food products, particularly within the edible oils market, the need for precise measurements has grown. The most common analyses involve determining fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), including cis- and trans-isomers and omega fatty acids. ISO-12966 (4) specifies the method for determining FAMEs using capillary gas chromatography. The method covers FAMEs from C8 to C24 and can be applied to crude, refined and hydrogenated fats/oils which are derived from both animal and vegetable sources, not including dairy or milk products. SCION Instruments have developed a method, using ISO12966 (4) specifications, for the determination of 37 FAMEs using base esterification for sample preparation. The documents below highlight applications in this field, including the determination of fatty acid methyl esters in edible argan oil and olive oil using GC-SQMS.

Biodiesel performance

Biodiesel is derived from oils such as vegetable oils, used cooking oils, and animal fats through a process known as transesterification. To be suitable for use as a motor fuel or for blending with petroleum diesel, biodiesel must adhere to specific standard specifications. These standards ensure that the biodiesel is of high quality, performs well, and is compatible with existing diesel engines. The verification of biodiesel’s compliance with these standards can be achieved through FAMEs analysis. FAMEs analysis involves the quantification and characterization of the fatty acid methyl esters present in the biodiesel, providing detailed insights into its composition and properties.

SCION Instruments offers state-of-the-art analytical instruments designed to facilitate this process. Highlighted in the applications below are specific examples of how FAMEs analysis is employed for biodiesel testing.