Phospholipid Analysis by 31P-NMR spectroscopy

Jun, 15 2018

Did you know that Spectral Service AG is the worldwide leader laboratory


in quantitative determination of Phospholipids using 31P-NMR spectroscopy?



What are Phospholipids?

Lipids are important components of biological systems.

Phospholipids are a type of lipid molecule and are the major constituents of all biological cell membranes.

When many phospholipids combine, they form a double layer that is characteristic of all cell membranes (Fig. 1).

These complex structures are glycerol-based phospholipids, consisting of a molecule of glycerol to which are attached two fatty acids, a phosphate, and usually one other small molecule (Fig. 2).


Fig. 1                 Structure of a cell membrane


Fig. 2                 Structure of phospholipids


Lecithin can be used in its native form or it can be modified. Modification is a process to improve the emulsifying properties of lecithin. There are two major sources of lecithin: animal and vegetable.


Tab. 1              Lecithin sources (some examples)



Quantitative Phospholipid Analysis – what there is to know? The facts.

All common phospholipid species derive from soybean or other sources and can be determined using 31P-NMR spectroscopy

Spectral Service AG developed the Phospholipid Analysis Method by 31P-NMR spectroscopy more than 25 years ago and it is the worldwide leader laboratory in Quantitative Determination of Phospholipids using 31P-NMR spectroscopy.

Our Team is performing this analysis since its development – we have the know-how, expertise and experience!

Spectral Service AG receives an average of 50 samples on a daily basis of all kind of matrices and from companies all over the world only for phospholipid analyses.

Without counting with the samples Spectral Service AG receives per day for several other analyses by 1H-, 13C-, 19F- and 31P-NMR.

The quantification of Phospholipids is performed according to two different methods: 100% and absolute methods using 31P-NMR; weighing and sample preparation for both methods are equal.

The USP method for Phospholipids in krill oil was developed by Spectral Service according to Spectral Service’s routine for phospholipids in general.

The AOCS method was established by Spectral Service as well, however, this method is only valid for native soy bean lecithin.

The 31P NMR method for phospholipid analyses was developed by Spectral Service AG and it is the official method of the ILPS (International Lecithin and Phospholipid Society,

Spectral Service AG is a GMP and GLP certified laboratory as well as FDA approved. The phospholipid method is validated and within the certification. The certificates can be downloaded on our website.


Did you know that 31P-NMR is a method used for several analyses, not only phospholipid analyses?

31P-NMR spectroscopy is used for several quantitative determinations. In the addition to the quantification of phospholipids (PC, LPC, PI, PE, etc; organic layer; see Tab. 2) and glycerophospholipids (GPC: glycerophosphocholine, GPE: glycerophosphoethanolamine, etc; aqueous layer); as well for the quantification of for example phosphates, diethyl phosphonates, ammonium phosphatides, etc.



In which Matrices is the Phospholipid Analysis possible?



























Note: the above listed matrices are only a few examples. If you have a sample from a matrix, which is not listed above, please contact us.



Which single Phospholipids can be quantified in only one single determination (single analysis)?

Tab. 2                Abbreviations of single phospholipids


Tab. 3                Chemical Structures of the single Phospholipids



How does a Phospholipid  31P-NMR spectrum look like? Some examples of certain matrices.


Fig. 3                Typical 31P-NMR spectrum of a soy lecithin sample, detail (phospholipids)


Fig. 4                 Typical 31P-NMR spectrum of an egg lecithin sample, detail (phospholipids)


Fig. 5                 Typical 31P-NMR spectrum of a krill sample, detail (phospholipids)


Fig. 6                 Typical 31P-NMR spectrum of a milk sample, detail (phospholipids)



Contact us if you want to know more about phospholipids







Aktuelle Methoden