The term lipid encompasses a broad range of structurally diverse molecules with varied physical and chemical properties. Such diversity provides a significant analytical challenge. To overcome this, many of the traditional analytical techniques analyze lipids as a class (e.g., the analysis of phospholipid classes by thin-layer chromatography) or break down lipids into more simple molecules (e.g., gas chromatography (CC) of fatty acid methyl esters). While these and similar techniques have provided great insight into lipid biochemistry over the decades (and still do), molecular level information is lost and structural diversity underestimated.
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