A new approach using sequential pressurized liquid extraction described recently [J. Poerschmann, R. Carlson, J. Chromatogr. A, 1127 (2006) 18-25] was applied to determine lipid markers originating from central nervous system (CNS) tissue of cows in heat-processed sausages. These studies are very important in quality control as well as risk assessment studies in the face of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis. Diagnostic CNS lipid markers, which should not be present in meat products without CNS addition, were recognized on complete transesterification as polar 2-hydroxy-fatty acids (2OH-24:0, 2OH-24:1, 2OH-22:0, 2OH-18:0, shorthand designation) as well as odd-numbered non-branched fatty acids beyond C(22). An array of other fatty acids including lignoceric acid (24:0), nervonic acid (24:1), arachidonic acid (20:4), and polyunsaturated nC(22)-surrogates are strongly related to CNS lipids, but occur as traces in meat products without CNS addition as well, thus reducing their value as diagnostic markers. Samples including meat products without CNS addition, meat with 3% CNS addition, as well as pure CNS homogenates, were subjected to sequential PLE (pressurized liquid extraction) consisting of two steps: n-hexane/acetone 9:1 (v/v) extraction at 50 degrees C to remove neutral lipids, followed by chloroform/methanol 1:4 (v/v) extraction at 110 degrees C to isolate polar CNS lipids (two 10 min PLE cycles each). To enhance the fractionation efficiency, cyanopropyl modified silica as well as chemically not modified silica sorbent was used at the outlet of the PLE cartridge to retard polar lipids in the first extraction step. This method proved superior to widely distributed exhaustive lipid extraction followed by solid-phase extraction (SPE) using silica regarding lipid recoveries and clear-cut boundaries between lipid classes. Methodological studies showed that the alcoholysis using trimethylchlorosilane/methanol (1:9, v/v) is an excellent method for the complete transesterification of lipids and quantitative formation of methyl esters.