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A Review of Efforts to Improve Lipid Stability during Sample Preparation and Standardization Efforts to Ensure Accuracy in the Reporting of Lipid Measurements



John Bowden, Candice Z. Ulmer, Christina Jones, Jeremy P. Koelmel, Timothy J. Garrett, Juan J. Aristizabal-Henao, Hubert W. Vesper


Lipidomics is a rapidly growing field, fueled by developments in analytical instrumentation and bioinformatics. To date, most researchers and industries have employed their own lipidomics workflows without a consensus on best practices. Without a community‐wide consensus on best practices for the prevention of lipid degradation and transformations through sample collection and analysis, it is difficult to assess the quality of lipidomics data and hence trust results. Clinical studies often rely on samples being stored for weeks or months until they are analyzed, but inappropriate sampling techniques, storage temperatures, and analytical protocols can result in the degradation of complex lipids and the generation of oxidized or hydrolyzed metabolite artifacts. While best practices for lipid stability are sample dependent, it is generally recommended that strategies during sample preparation capable of quenching enzymatic activity and preventing oxidation should be considered. In addition, after sample preparation, lipid extracts should be stored in organic solvents with antioxidants at −20 °C or lower in an airtight container without exposure to light or oxygen. This will reduce or eliminate sublimation, and chemically and physically induced molecular transformations such as oxidation, enzymatic transformation, and photon/heat‐induced degradation. This review explores the available literature on lipid stability, with a particular focus on human health and/or clinical lipidomic applications. Specifically, this includes a description of known mechanisms of lipid degradation, strategies, and considerations for lipid storage, as well as current efforts for standardization and quality insurance of protocols.


Metabolite stability, lipid storage and handling, sample preservation


Bowden, J. , Ulmer, C. , Jones, C. , Koelmel, J. , Garrett, T. , Aristizabal-Henao, J. and Vesper, H. (2020), A Review of Efforts to Improve Lipid Stability during Sample Preparation and Standardization Efforts to Ensure Accuracy in the Reporting of Lipid Measurements, Lipids, [online], (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created May 18, 2020, Updated October 12, 2021