Automated Determination of Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat and Trans Fat Content in Food Samples


App Note 3/2013

Determination of total fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and trans fat content in food samples is necessary for complying with applicable food labeling requirements. A typical procedure for saponification of the sample involves refluxing with sodium methoxide in methanol, followed by a second reflux with boron trifluoride in order to esterify the free fatty acids. Prior to injection into the gas chromatograph, the fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) must be extracted from the reaction mix and the extract must be dried. The reflux times are typically an hour. After the sample is prepared, the round bottomed flask and condenser must be cleaned. This process is laborious and time consuming, which limits sample throughput. A combined autosampler and liquid handling robot, which is commonly used for a wide variety of sample preparation techniques can be interfaced directly to a CEM Discover SP-D microwave unit. In this way, a single integrated system under GERSTEL MAESTRO software control can perform saponification of fats in combination with further sample preparation steps and finally introduction to a GC or HPLC system.