Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) or Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) are important indicators of the microbial metabolism in the gut. The SCFA have been linked to obesity, diabetes and inflammatory bowel diseases (Puertollano et al. 2014, Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care). Acetate, propionate and butyrate are principal end products of colonic fermentation. Iso-butyrate, valerate and iso-valerate are produced in small amounts from protein and amino acid degradation.
Volatile fatty acids or Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) are easily and accuratly measured on a GC-MS as described by e.g. Zhao et al. (Biomed Chromatogr. 2006) in faecal samples and are easily measured in other matrices like spent medie/growth media as well. MS-Omics can also extract the SCFAs from faecal samples, typically from 50 mg faeces in 2 ml Eppendorfs tubes.