Physico-chemical characterization of Intralipid emulsions

Michal Rotenberg, Moshe Rubin, Ariela Bor, Dina Meyuhas, Yeshayahu Talmon, Dov Lichtenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fat emulsions containing soy triacylglycerols (100-300 g/l) and egg-yolk phospholipids (12 g/l) are often used for intravenous feeding. Previous studies have shown that these emulsions contain chylomicron-like emulsion particles of diameters of 300-400 nm and excess phospholipids aggregated as vesicles (liposomes), which remain in the infranatant upon floatation of the emulsion particles by ultracentrifugation. This work is devoted to the characterization of the commercial lipid emulsions commonly denoted Intralipids, with special emphasis on the presently ill-defined liposomes. The lipid particles composing commercial lipid emulsions (10%, 20% and 30% Intralipids, Kabivitrum Nutrition) were characterized by the combined use of physical and chemical methods. Each of the emulsions was fractionated by ultracentrifugation in saline into a 'cream' layer which floats to the top of the dispersion upon ultracentrifugation and a relatively transparent infranatant. The cream layer contains large emulsion particles of diameters ranging from 300 to 400 nm, in agreement with theoretical considerations based on their chemical composition as determined by chemical analysis. The inframatants contain about 1 g/l triacylglycerols in addition to phospholipids (from 7.2 g/l in 10% Intralipid t0 2.4 g/l in 30% Intralipid) in the form of smaller particles of 70-100 nm diameter. Cryo-transmission electron microscopy shows that the infranatants contain vesicles (mostly unilamellar) at the side of residual small emulsion particles. This conclusion is also consistent with the distribution of phospholipids between outer and inner lamellae, as determined by 31P-NMR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 Nov 1991


FundersFunder number
Israel-US Binational Science Foundation


    • Intralipid
    • Lipid emulsion
    • Parenteral nutrition
    • Vesicle


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