Fatty acid

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Butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid

In organic chemistry and biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid (-C(=O)OH), with a long unbranched hydrocarbon tail. It may be either saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated compounds have reactive double bonds; saturated ones do not.

Fatty acids are aliphatic monocarboxylic acids derived from, or contained in, an animal or vegetable fat, oil, or wax. Natural fatty acids commonly have a chain of four to 28 carbon atoms (usually unbranched and even numbered), which may be saturated or unsaturated.[1] This would include acetic acid, although this is not usually considered a fatty acid (not a lipid).

The blend of fatty acids exuded by mammalian skin, together with lactic acid and pyruvic acid, are distinctive, and enable animals with a keen sense of smell to differentiate individuals.[2]

References[change | edit source]

  1. The Gold Book. IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology (2nd ed.). International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. 1997. ISBN 052151150X. http://goldbook.iupac.org/F02330.html.
  2. Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology