Analysis of bacterial FAMEs using gas chromatography – vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy for the identification and discrimination of bacteria

Inês C. Santos, Jonathan Smuts, Woo Sik Choi, Younghoon Kim, Seoung Bum Kim, Kevin A. Schug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of microorganisms is very important in different fields and alternative methods are necessary for a rapid and simple identification. The use of fatty acids for bacterial identification is gaining attention as phenotypic characteristics are reflective of the genotype and are more easily analyzed. In this work, gas chromatography-vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy (GC-VUV) was used to determine bacteria fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs), to identify and discriminate different environmental bacteria based on their fatty acid profile. Microorganisms were grown in agar and their fatty acids extracted, saponified, and esterified before analysis. Unique FAME profiles were obtained for each microorganism mainly composed of branched, cyclopropane, hydroxy, saturated, and unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters. S. maltophilia showed a higher diversity of fatty acids while Bacillus species showed higher complexity in terms of branched-chain FAMEs, with several iso and anteiso forms. 12 different bacteria genera and 15 species were successfully differentiated based on their fatty acid profiles after performing PCA and cluster analysis. Some difficult to differentiate species, such as Bacillus sp., which are genetically very similar, were differentiated with the developed method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-543
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 15



  • Cluster analysis
  • Fatty acid methyl esters
  • Gas chromatography – vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy
  • Gas phase absorption spectroscopy
  • Microbial identification
  • PCA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)

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