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BayCenSI - Center for Stable Isotope Research in Ecology and Biogeochemistry

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Sample preparations of compound-specific Analysis

We are constantly expanding our repertoir of compound-specific analysis (CSI). Please get in contact via the form if you are missing a desired method or would like to cooperate in establishing or developing a new method for CSI at the BayCenSI. 

At the moment we are offering Phospholipid Fatty Acid (PLFA) analysis and are planning to establish Aminosugar analysis in the near future.

If you are a student of the University of Bayreuth (UBT) and interested in to include a method-development-part into your Master or Bachelor work, please get in contact with the lab manager. 

Phospholipid Fatty Acids (PLFA)Hide


PLFA-analysis is widely used to assess the microbial community composition of soils quantitatively. One of the advantages of this approach is that it covers a wide range of microbial groups, including bacteria and fungi, using a universal method.  


Extraction of PLFA from tissue material can be done from (e.g., fine roots), or from complex matrices, as soil samples. To avoid alteration, processing should be done quickly. Traditionally, extraction and derivatization follow a protocol described by Frostegård and co-workers (1991, Journal of Microbiological Methods 14, 151-63). After extraction, PLFAS are converted to fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) by alkaline methanolysis. FAMEs are then analyzed by gas chromatography with commercially available mixtures of bacterial FAMEs used as qualitative standards. Concentrations of single FAMEs are determined using the internal standard (19:0) peak as a reference.

Our setup and service

We either use a (5%-Phenyl)-methylpolysiloxane or a (50%-Cyanopropyl)-methylpolysiloxane stationary phase, depending on your requirements. Please get in contact with us to discuss your demands. 

Sample submission

  • Please get in contact with the lab early on
  • After being allocated a project number, please fill out our sample submission form and upload it using the contact form or the official email address you received. 
  • Samples have to be sent after derivatization.
  • The volume of your sample should exceed 50 µl using 100-µl gals inserts.
  • Make sure that the samples are kept cool throughout the delivery process.
  • Also, ensure the GC-vials are capped with new and unscathed septa and delivered upright-standing. 
    • This is especially important if you are sending your samples using inserts. 


Webmaster: Alexander Frank

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