A fatty acid is like a chain composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
The number of carbons on the chain varies from 4 to 24.
A carbon offers 4 electrons
A hydrogen offers 1 electron
An oxygen offers 2 electrons.
These compounds share two electrons to form a bond between them.
When carbons are linked by a single bond we call the fatty acid: saturated (SFA).
When two carbons are linked by a double bond the fatty acid is called: monosaturated (MUFA).
When more than two carbons are linked by a double bond the fatty acid is called: polyunsaturated (PUFA).
The more hydrogen a fatty acid contains, the more saturated it is.
The fatty acid can be divided into two parts:
1. The methyl group and its chain:
This part of the molecule is water insoluble and oil-soluble.
2. The carboxyl group:
It is the acid part. This part is water-soluble and does not dissolve in oil.
Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietetian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2000
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