This article focuses on the establishment of an accurate and sensitive quantitation method for the analysis of furan fatty acids. In particular, the sensitivity of GC/MS and UPLC/ESI/MS/MS was compared for the identification and quantification of furan fatty acids. Different methylation methods were tested with respect to GC/MS analysis. Special attention needs to be paid to the methylation of furan fatty acids, as acidic catalysts might lead to the degradation of the furan ring. GC/MS analysis in full-scan mode demonstrated that the limit of quantitation was 10 μM. UPLC/ESI/MS/MS in multiple reaction monitoring mode displayed a higher detection sensitivity than GC/MS. Moreover, the identification of furan fatty acids with charge-reversal derivatization was tested in the positive mode with two widely used pyridinium salts. Significant oxidation was unexpectedly observed using N-(4-aminomethylphenyl) pyridinium as a derivatization agent. The formed 3-acyl-oxymethyl-1-methylpyridinium iodide derivatized by 2-bromo-1-methylpyridinium iodide and 3-carbinol-1-methylpyridinium iodide improved the sensitivity more than 2,000-fold compared with nonderivatization in the negative mode by UPLC/ESI/MS/MS. This charge-reversal derivatization enabled the targeted quantitation of furan fatty acids in human plasma. Thus, it is anticipated that this protocol could greatly contribute to the clarification of pathological mechanisms related to furan fatty acids and their metabolites.
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