Short-Chain Fatty Acid (SCFA) Analysis

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are a sub-group of saturated aliphatic fatty acids contain 2-5 carbon (C) atoms, while formiate (C1), acetate (C2), propionate (C3), and butyrate (C4) are the most abundant. They are the end products of fermentation of the dietary fibers by beneficial intestinal bacteria.  The fermentation of dietary fibers produces a large number of metabolites including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). To the microbial community, SCFAs are end products. For humans they are required to maintain the balance of redox equivalent production of the gut in the anaerobic environment.

Recent studies have shown that SCFAs play an important role in the prevention and treatment of a series of metabolic syndrome such as bowel disorders and some cancer. In some clinical studies, the administration of SCFAs can enhance the therapeutic efficacy of some immunological intestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, though the mechanism remains to be determined. It is indicated that SCFAs benefit mammalian energy metabolism, with the underlying mechanisms of intensive research interest. The excessive energy intake and lack of physical exercise result in a series of metabolic syndrome such as hypertension, obesity, dyslipidemia and loss of glycemic control. It is shown in epidemiological studies that higher dietary fibers intake will benefit body weight, food intake and glucose homeostasis and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer.

The amount and type of dietary fibers in the diet has significant effects on the composition of the intestinal bacteria and thereby on the type and amount of SCFAs generated. Mostly, the in vivo SCFAs production rates on different fibers are related to the intestinal SCFAs concentrations on different fibers diet. Though the cecal SCFAs concentration is available in most model organisms, it is hard to get information about in vivo production rates. In contrast, it is almost impossible to measure the cecal SCFAs concentration in humans’ intestines. So, most of the time the cecal and colonic metabolism are evaluated by measuring SCFAs concentration in fecal content or by in vitro studies. Metabolomic Discoveries has established a very sensitive and robust LC-MS method for quantification of short chain fatty acids.


  • LC-MS/MS


  • Identification and quantification of short chain fatty acids (Formiate, Acetate, Propionate, Butyrate).

Sample Requirement

  • 100ul plasma; 50mg tissue; 50mg feces (human); 10mg feces (mouse)


  • A detailed report will be provided at the end of the project
  • SCFAs are reported as uM or ug/mg (tissue)