fatty acid

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fatty acid,

any of the organic carboxylic acids present in fats and oilsfats and oils,
group of organic substances that form an important part of the diet and also are useful in many industries. The fats are usually solid, the oils generally liquid at ordinary room temperatures.
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 as esters of glycerolglycerol,
 glycerin,
 glycerine,
or 1,2,3-propanetriol
, CH2OHCHOHCH2OH, colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting, syrupy liquid. Glycerol is a trihydric alcohol. It melts at 17.
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. Molecular weights of fatty acids vary over a wide range. The carbon skeleton of any fatty acid is unbranched. Some fatty acids are saturated, i.e., each carbon atom is connected to its carbon atom neighbors by single bonds; and some fatty acids are unsaturated, i.e., contain at least one carbon-carbon double bond (see chemical bondchemical bond,
mechanism whereby atoms combine to form molecules. There is a chemical bond between two atoms or groups of atoms when the forces acting between them are strong enough to lead to the formation of an aggregate with sufficient stability to be regarded as an
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). When fats and oils are hydrolyzed with an alkali, the fatty acids are liberated as their metal salts; these salts are soaps. Butyric acidbutyric acid
or butanoic acid
, CH3CH2CH2CO2H, viscous, foul-smelling, liquid carboxylic acid; m.p. about −5°C;; b.p. 163.5°C;. It is miscible with water, ethanol, and ether.
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 is a fatty acid found in butter.

fatty acid

[¦fad·ē ′as·əd]
(organic chemistry)
An organic monobasic acid of the general formula Cn H2 n + 1COOH derived from the saturated series of aliphatic hydrocarbons; examples are palmitic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid; used as a lubricant in cosmetics and nutrition, and for soaps and detergents.

fatty acid

1. any of a class of aliphatic carboxylic acids, such as palmitic acid, stearic acid, and oleic acid, that form part of a lipid molecule
2. another name for carboxylic acid esp a naturally occurring one