Storage and Handling of Lipids
Lipids are rich in variety and quantity and serve multiple biological functions including storing energy, signaling, and acting as structural components of cell membranes. Today, lipids also have applications in the cosmetic and food industries as well as in nanotechnology. Therefore, the research on lipids is becoming more and more extensive. The correct and suitable storage and handling of lipids to ensure the stability of lipids is the premise of their biological function and application research. In order to ensure that your research can be carried out smoothly and successfully, and achieve good results, Alfa Chemistry will give a brief introduction to how to proper storage and handling of lipid products with our expertise and rich experience in lipids.
There are main three important points to consider when storage and handling of lipids.
- Minimizing autoxidation: When natural lipids contain a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids, they are prone to autoxidation when exposed to oxygen, water or other oxidants without protected, and it may not be possible to obtain an accurate analysis. The more unsaturated double bonds in lipids, the faster rate of lipid autoxidation. For example, linoleic acid is autoxidized twenty times as rapidly as oleic acid, and each additional double bond in a fatty acid can increase the rate of destruction by two to three folds. In addition, temperature can also significantly impact the rate of oxidation.
- Avoid introduction of impurities and contaminants: Organic solvents may be used in lipids storage and use. All solvents, including from time to time those grades that are nominally of high purity, can contain contaminants. Any such impurities can be troublesome. In addition, if plastic or polymer materials are used with organic solvents, impurities in the materials will dissolve into the lipid samples.
- Avoid hydrolysis: Glycolipids and phospholipids can undergo hydrolysis reactions. In an acidic or basic aqueous environment, phospholipid molecules are subjected to hydrolysis following pseudo first-order kinetics, and the hydrolysates are fatty acids, amino alcohols and glycerophosphate esters. Glycolipids yield fatty acids, glycerol, and carbohydrates on hydrolysis.
Guide to Storage and Handling of Lipids
- When unwrapped, lipids composed of fatty acids containing one or more double bonds, they should not be left in the dry state. They should be dissolved in a small volume of non-polar (aprotic) solvent, such as isohexane, and stored at -20 °C in a glass (never plastic) container with a teflon closure, from which air is excluded by flushing with a stream of nitrogen, and in the presence of antioxidants. Refrigeration temperatures can be accepted in the short term. The container containing the sample should not be too large, otherwise the lipids can spread out over a large area of glass and so be more accessible to oxygen. In this way, lipids exposure to air can be significantly minimized.
- When using organic solvents to dissolve lipids, the higher quality grades of solvent may have to be checked periodically to ensure that they meet the required standards, while those of poorer quality should be re-distilled before use.
- Bags, vials or other containers made of plastic materials should be avoided to store lipids in organic solvents and always use glass, stainless steel, or Teflon equipment to store and transfer lipids in organic solvents. It's easy to overlook that people may use plastic pipette tips to transfer lipids in organic solvents, don't do that.
- Glycolipids and phospholipids should not be stored in aqueous solutions due to potential hydrolysis.
As a leading global supplier of lipids, Alfa Chemistry has accumulated extensive knowledge and experience in lipid research. If you need any help about lipids storage and handing, you can contact our engineers online and we will provide you with professional advice and solution.