Basic concept of fatty acid

Compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen with a functional group, a carbonyl carbon, CH3.(CH2)n.COOH. The fatty acids, the simplest of the lipids, are defined as monocarboxylic acids that tend to be more soluble in organic solvents than in water.

Most fatty acids in food consist of a straight of carbon atoms ending with a carboxyl group, that is soluble in water and non polar hydrocarbon chain that is insoluble in water but soluble in the common organic solvents. They may be double bond between some of these carbon atoms.

The melting point of a fatty acid is affected by its chain length, its degree of unsaturation and whether the double bonds are cis or trans.

Fatty acid serves at least three vital functions: such as linolenic acid, are essential nutrients; other, particularly the short chain fatty acids, provides energy; long chain fatty acids are structural components of cell membranes.

The number of known natural fatty acids exceeds 1000 although only a relatively small number – perhaps 2o—50 are of common concern. A large number of fatty acids exist in nature because the hydrocarbon chain may be of varying lengths (i.e. containing a varying number of carbon atoms linked together) an may have different degrees of unsaturation (unsaturation refers to the presence of double bonds between carbon atoms within the hydrocarbon chain).

Basic concept of fatty acid
Linolenic acid

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