Author(s): Cecilia Castro and Julian L. Griffin
Recognising the paramount importance of lipids in cell physiology and function, there is an analytical need to measure the composition of lipids within the cell and how different lipid species interact. In this review, we will explore the role NMR spectroscopy can have in this. We will show how the technique can be used to measure lipid concentrations, but we will also provide evidences of its importance to characterise lipid interactions with other molecules, such as proteins, and to measure lipoproteins, the transporters of triglycerides and cholesterol, discussing advantages and limitations. Furthermore, we will highlight its potential for quality control analysis, particularly in food science and industry, if further development of benchtop instruments continues. Complementary to liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, which is able to measure numerous lipids in a complex mixture, NMR is an invaluable tool for fulfilling this need of better characterising lipids.