fatty acid noun
: an acid that is naturally in fats and various oils
: any of numerous saturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acids CnH2n+1COOH (as acetic acid) including many that occur naturally usually in the form of esters in fats, waxes, and essential oils
: any of the saturated or unsaturated monocarboxylic acids (as palmitic acid) usually with an even number of carbon atoms that occur naturally in the form of glycerides in fats and fatty oils
First Known Use of FATTY ACID
fatty acid noun (Medical Dictionary)
: any of numerous saturated aliphatic acids CnH2n+1COOH (as lauric acid) containing a single carboxyl group and including many that occur naturally usually in the form of esters in fats, waxes, and essential oils
: any of the saturated or unsaturated organic acids (as palmitic acid) that have a single carboxyl group and usually an even number of carbon atoms and that occur naturally in the form of glycerides in fats and fatty oils
fatty acid noun (Concise Encyclopedia)
Organic compound that is an important component of lipids in plants, animals, and microorganisms. Fatty acids are carboxylic acids with a long hydrocarbon chain, usually straight, as the fourth substituent group on the carboxyl (COOH) group (see functional group) that makes the molecule an acid. If the carbon-to-carbon bonds (see bonding) in that chain are all single, the fatty acid is saturated; artificial saturation is called hydrogenation. A fatty acid with one double bond is monounsaturated; one with more is polyunsaturated. These are more reactive chemically. Most unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, so food manufacturers hydrogenate them to make them solid (see margarine). A high level of saturated fatty acids in the diet raises blood cholesterol levels. A few fatty acids have branched chains. Others (e.g., prostaglandins) contain ring structures. Fatty acids in nature are always combined, usually with glycerol as triglycerides in fats. Oleic acid (unsaturated, with 18 carbon atoms) is almost half of human fat and is abundant in such oils as olive, palm, and peanut. Most animals, including mammals, cannot synthesize some unsaturated essential fatty acids; humans need linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids in their diet.
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