Fat and oil (food)
Alam, Mohammad S. Food Protein Research and Development Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Last reviewed:March 2019
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- Nutrition value
- Chemistry of fats and oils
- Production methods
- Oil modification process
- Chemical adjuvants
- Deterioration factors
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Important functional components of foods, belonging to a group of biological substance called lipids. Fats and oils are soluble in organic solvents such as hexane, petroleum ether, alcohol, and chloroform. They are insoluble in water. Fats and oils have unique properties and play a major role in human nutrition. They add flavor, texture, lubricity, and satiety to foods. Most fats and oils used for human consumption are plant-derived (Fig. 1). The major commodity fats and oils are soybean, cottonseed, canola, sunflower, corn, peanut, palm kernel, and coconut oils; others such as olive, almond, cashew nut, hazelnut, avocado, and sesame oils are considered gourmet or specialty, health-promoting oils. The major animal fats include lard from pigs, tallow from cattle and sheep, milk fat or butter from cows, and fish oil. Recently, some unique oils such as emu oil (harvested from emu birds), ostrich oil, and mink oil have been in high demand for their use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Another source of fats and oils is algae. These aquatic organisms may consist of up to 60% oils, depending on the type of species harvested. Algal oil has been used in food formulations for many decades, especially for margarine and shortening and also as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. See also: Algae; Fat and oil; Food; Lipid
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