Lipidomics in Food Safety Assurance

Lipids vary in composition in different foods and affect the quality, nutrition and hygiene of foods, are an important source of energy and nutrition for the human body, and are directly related to the development of many chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, etc.).

Safety has always been the most important issue for food. However, ensuring food safety is indeed a challenging task because food contamination can occur at any point in production and distribution. Contaminants in food can be exogenous and endogenous substances that are the result of intentional additions, chemical reactions or accidental mixing during food production and storage.

Creative Proteomcis provides customized lipidomics solutions to support food quality and safety.

Food Composition Analysis

Lipidomics has been widely used to analyze the lipids of foods, laying the foundation for functional component analysis, processing by-product utilization and oil resources development. The development of lipid separation technology and detection technology has made it possible to separate complex and diverse lipid structures and compositions in foods, and to distinguish lipid acyl chain positional isomerism and double bond positional isomerism.

Food Quality Identification

Mass spectrometry-based lipidomics is not only applied in food composition analysis, but also in food quality discrimination. The oxidative hydrolysis of lipids is one of the important factors affecting the nutrition, quality and safety of meat and meat products.

Food Safety

Various reactions occur in lipids during food processing, such as thermal oxidation, hydrolysis, thermal polymerization and merad reaction. Changes in lipids can affect changes in food quality and thus food safety. For example, frying deep-fried foods may produce a large number of oxidation products, polymers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chloropropanol and glycidyl esters, which have an impact on human health.

Food Adulteration

Food adulteration is usually caused by economic reasons, trying to illegally reduce the cost of the product by adding cheaper analogues. This practice not only reduces the quality of the food product, but may also be hazardous to human health. Although most adulterated substances bear a strong resemblance to the product in terms of apparent morphology and sensory properties, their lipid species differ significantly at the molecular level. Holistic analysis and comprehensive comparison strategies performed by lipidomics methods have great potential to achieve effective monitoring of food adulteration.

GC-MS and RPLC-MS can be used to monitor food adulteration. For example, pork and beef adulteration analysis can be performed by detecting the levels of TAG (16:0/15:0/18:4), cholesteryl ester (CE, 22:5) and Cer (d18:1/24:1) to determine whether the beef is adulterated with pork.

Food Traceability

Food adulteration and other safety issues have led to the need for traceability systems to identify the authenticity of raw materials. Food traceability is recognized as an important tool for food safety control. For lipid tracing in food and food ingredients, lipidomics technology provides a powerful solution.

At present, there are two main types of substances of scientific and legislative interest, steroid hormones and lipid-derived reaction products.

Steroid hormones are a group of bioactive compounds belonging to the class of sterol lipids. Because of their potential anabolic effects, they have been used as growth promotors or to increase milk production in animal husbandry industry for several decades. However, the adverse impacts of excessive dietary exposure to steroid hormones, no matter natural or synthetic, on human health have been well documented. A study uses a simple, fast, and reproducible method for the simultaneous determination of natural estrogens and mycoestrogens (resorcylic acid lactones) in milk by ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography combined with electrospray ionization triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry.

  • Lipid-derived reaction products

Lipids are one of the most unstable components of food matrices. When lipids are exposed to water, oxygen, heat, light, metal ions, enzymes and free radicals, many chemical reactions occur, including hydrolysis, isomerization, oxidation, cyclization and polymerization. During these processes, quite lots of primary and secondary products are generated, affecting the organoleptic and nutritional properties of food and even posing great threat to consumers’ health when deteriorated foods are consumed. These contaminants include FFAs, trans isomers, hydroperoxides, carbonyl species, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chloropropanols and glycidyl esters and polymers. MS-based lipidomics approaches have also been applied to detect these contaminants.

Creative Proteomics provides reliable, rapid, and cost-effective lipidomics services in food safety. We will use our expertise to help you interpret the results and provide you with actionable recommendations on how to utilize these results in your research or business.

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Lipidomics in Food Safety Assurance

If you have any questions about our lipidomics services in food safety assurance, please contact us. With our highly experienced scientific team, advanced techniques and equipment, we can tailor our services according to your needs.


  1. Criado-Navarro, I.; et al. Determination of glycerophospholipids in vegetable edible oils: Proof of concept to discriminate olive oil categories. Food chemistry. 2109, 299: 125136.
  2. Righetti, Laura.; et al. A novel approach based on untargeted lipidomics reveals differences in the lipid pattern among durum and common wheat. Food chemistry. 2018, 240: 775-783.
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