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Journal Articles Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE Year : 2016

Identification of fatty acids in Bacillus cereus


The Bacillus species contain branched chain and unsaturated fatty acids (FAs) with diverse positions of the methyl branch (iso or anteiso) and of the double bond. Changes in FA composition play a crucial role in the adaptation of bacteria to their environment. These modifications entail a change in the ratio of iso versus anteiso branched FAs, and in the proportion of unsaturated FAs relative to saturated FAs, with double bonds created at specific positions. Precise identification of the FA profile is necessary to understand the adaptation mechanisms of Bacillus species. Many of the FAs from Bacillus are not commercially available. The strategy proposed herein identifies FAs by combining information on the retention time (by calculation of the equivalent chain length (ECL)) with the mass spectra of three types of FA derivatives: fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), 4,4-dimethyl oxazoline derivatives (DMOX), and 3-pyridylcarbinyl ester (picolinyl). This method can identify the FAs without the need to purify the unknown FAs. Comparing chromatographic profiles of FAME prepared from Bacillus cereus with a commercial mixture of standards allows for the identification of straight-chain saturated FAs, the calculation of the ECL, and hypotheses on the identity of the other FAs. FAMEs of branched saturated FAs, iso or anteiso, display a constant negative shift in the ECL, compared to linear saturated FAs with the same number of carbons. FAMEs of unsaturated FAs can be detected by the mass of their molecular ions, and result in a positive shift in the ECL compared to the corresponding saturated FAs. The branching position of FAs and the double bond position of unsaturated FAs can be identified by the electron ionization mass spectra of picolinyl and DMOX derivatives, respectively. This approach identifies all the unknown saturated branched FAs, unsaturated straight-chain FAs and unsaturated branched FAs from the B. cereus extract.

Dates and versions

hal-01606457 , version 1 (02-10-2017)



Christian Ginies, Julien Brillard, Christophe Nguyen The. Identification of fatty acids in Bacillus cereus. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, 2016, 118, 9 p. ⟨10.3791/54960⟩. ⟨hal-01606457⟩
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