Products: Sherlock Microbial ID System: PLFA Analysis, Edible & Marine Oil Analysis

Phospholipid Fatty Acid Analysis (PLFA)

Soil phospholipid fatty acid analysis can provide a real-time snapshot of the soil microbial community (soil microbiota) structure. The soil microbiota is responsible for many ecosystem functions such as plant growth regulation, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Additionally, the microbiota has the ability to degrade environmental pollutants, such as PAHs and PCBs. The microbiota is highly sensitive to soil-altering processes (degradative or beneficial) and changes can guide appropriate management procedures (conservation or restoration).

PLFA analysis is a widely-used technique for estimation of the total biomass and to observe broad changes in the soil microbiota composition. Multiple different Gas Chromatography (GC) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS) methods and instrument types have been used to determine PLFA profiles. However, most of this analysis is performed manually, time consuming and potentially error-prone.

In 2012, MIDI released the Sherlock™ PLFA Method and Tools Package (PLFAD1). PLFAD1 names over 150 PLFAs and related compounds and can be used for fatty acid analysis from any source. MIDI Inc.'s Sherlock PLFA Analysis Software automatically names all the PLFAs in a sample and categorizes them by microbial origin (e.g. Actinomycetes) and can perform biomass calculations (e.g. Fungi:Bacteria).

Fatty Acid Analysis (FAME) for Edible & Marine Oils

In 2016, MIDI enhanced the PLFA Package concept for Edible and Marine Oils. The Sherlock™ Edible Oil Package can be used for the automated analysis of these fatty-acid containing materials, as well as food and dairy products. All of the same tools that are used for the PLFA Analysis can be used with the Sherlock Edible Oil Package. In addition to the fatty acid analysis, complex calculations such as Iodine Value and Saponification Value are calculated seamlessly.

Key Features of the Sherlock PLFA & Edible Oil Packages:

  • Works for Soils, Edible Oils and Marine Oils .
  • Automated peak naming and categorization.
  • More than 300 peer-reviewed publications.
  • Works on both GC and GC-MS.
  • Works with high throughput PLFA extraction methods.


Contact MIDI for further information on the Sherlock PLFA & Edible Oil Packages.