Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry of sapucainha oil (Carpotroche brasiliensis) triacylglycerols comprising straight chain and cyclic fatty acids

Habtewold D. Waktola, Chadin Kulsing, Yada Nolvachai, Claudia M. Rezende, Humberto R. Bizzo, Philip J. Marriott

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Sapucainha oil, which may be used to treat leprosy, comprises straight chain and cyclic fatty acids (FA), and triacylglycerols (TAG). The FA and TAG content of the oil sample was analysed using gas chromatography–electron ionisation mass spectrometry (GC–EIMS). FA analysis was performed after derivatisation to fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). For free FA and TAG analysis, the oil sample was dissolved in hexane and injected into a short, high-temperature column, for GC with MS analysis. Free FA and FAME were tentatively identified based on mass spectrum information of their molecular and fragment ions, as well as library matching. Overlapping TAG peaks were deconvoluted based on mass fingerprint data. The FA composition was utilised to predict possible TAG identities. FA residues of TAG were identified based on characteristic fragment ions, such as [M–RCO2]+, [RCO+128]+, [RCO+74]+ and RCO+ where R is the aliphatic hydrocarbon chain. FAME analysis showed that the cyclic FA hydnocarpic (36.1%), chaulmoogric (26.5%) and gorlic (23.6%) acids were the major components. In addition, straight chain FA such as palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids were detected. Palmitic, oleic, hydnocarpic, chaulmoogric and gorlic acids were also detected as free FA in the oil sample. Six groups of TAG peaks were eluted from GC at temperatures ≥330 °C. After deconvolution and mass spectrum analysis, each TAG peak group was revealed to comprise 2 to 5 co-eluted TAG molecules; >18 TAG were identified. These TAG consisted of a mix of both cyclic and straight chain FA, but were mostly derived from cyclic FA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479–1489
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Cyclic fatty acids
  • High-temperature GC
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Sapucainha oil
  • Triacylglycerols

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