Identification and quantification of triacylglycerols containing n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in bovine milk Academic Article uri icon


  • The n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are low-abundance components in milk fat, but have great potential in promoting human health. A comprehensive survey on triacylglycerol (TAG) molecular species in milk that contain at least one type of n-3 LC-PUFA, namely eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and docosapentaenoic acid, was conducted in this work using HPLC-linear trap quadrupole-Orbitrap and HPLC-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry techniques. A total of 51 TAG species that contain n-3 LC-PUFA have been identified in bovine milk and their structures assigned. The TAG species containing docosahexaenoic acid were found in much smaller number and at much lower abundance compared with the other 2 types of TAG. An HPLC-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry-based method was developed, which provides relative quantification of all these TAG species in a run of 36 min. Application of this method to the quantification of n-3 LC-PUFA-incorporated TAG in 32 individual animal milk samples allowed us to determine variation between animals, identify strong metabolic relationships between TAG species, and reveal negative effect of a grape marc supplement on the accumulation of eicosapentaenoic acid in milk.

publication date

  • 2015