A novel method of characterising lipid molecules has been developed by University of Wollongong researchers in Australia.
Invented by researchers within the schools of chemistry and health sciences, the method of Ozone Induced Dissociation (known as OzID) provides detailed information about molecular structure that is unavailable from traditional methods of mass spectrometry.
’OzID first harnesses the power of mass spectrometry to separate one compound out of literally hundreds on the basis of mass, then uses ozone like a pair of molecular scissors to cut the molecule at a particular position, namely a double bond,’ according to one of OzID’s co-inventors Associate Professor Stephen Blanksby from the university’s school of chemistry.
’This allows us to unambiguously assign the structure of the compound and importantly differentiate molecules that differ only by the position of their double bonds,’ Prof Blanksby said.
’Examples of molecules where this analysis will be particularly useful are lipids where the double bond position, usually labelled as omega-3 or omega-6, can have a dramatic effect on nutritional or physiological properties.’
OzID has been trialled in a research collaboration between the university and AB Sciex, a company which specialises in life science analytical technologies.
’Obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several forms of cancer have all been linked to altered lipid metabolism,’ added OzID’s co-inventor Dr Todd Mitchell from the university’s school of health sciences.
’Improving our understanding of the role of lipids in these illnesses may lead to better ways to prevent or manage such disease states.’
Discussions between the university, UniQuest – its research commercialisation partner – and a number of potential commercial partners will continue over the licensing of the intellectual property associated with the patented technology.