Rapid determination of short-chain fatty acids in colonic contents and faeces of humans and rats by acidified water-extraction and direct-injection gas chromatography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have attracted much attention recently because of their positive physiological effects. In this work, a rapid and reliable gas chromatographic method for determination of eight SCFAs, in colonic and faecal samples from rats and humans has been developed and validated. The methodology involves extraction of the SCFAs in water before a direct injection procedure on a FFAP capillary column. A stock standard solution containing acetic acid, propionic acid, n-butyric acid, i-butyric acid, n-valeric acid, i-valeric acid, n-caproic acid and n-heptanoic acid was prepared and used. A high linearity (r(2) > 0.9990), low quantification limit (2.38-30.14 mu M) and high recovery for most acids were obtained. Acidification of faecal samples was found to be crucial for quantitative determination of the SCFAs, and adjustment of pH to 2-3 was regarded as necessary. Glass wool inserted in the glass liner of the injection port proved effective in preventing the contamination of the column by non-volatiles, and 12% formic acid reduced the ghost peak that appeared gradually after several injections. After validation, the methodology was applied on two faecal samples from rats fed diets containing different amount of dietary fibre and one faecal sample from human fed a normal diet to test the accuracy of the developed method. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Analytical Chemistry


  • water extraction, direct injection, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), gas chromatography, faeces, colonic contents
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-682
JournalBiomedical Chromatography
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry (011001300), Analytical Chemistry (S/LTH) (011001004)