To identify the structures of common fatty acids and also classify them as saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated.

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Fatty acids room carboxylic acids that room structural contents of fats, oils, and all other categories of lipids, except steroids. Much more than 70 have been determined in nature. They usually contain an even number of carbon atoms (typically 12–20), are generally unbranched, and can it is in classified through the existence and number of carbon-to-carbon dual bonds. Thus, saturated fatty acids save no carbon-to-carbon double bonds, monounsaturated fatty acids save one carbon-to-carbon double bond, and polyunsaturated fatty acids contain 2 or an ext carbon-to-carbon twin bonds.


Table \(\PageIndex1\) list some usual fatty acids and also one important source for each. The atom or groups roughly the dual bonds in unsaturated fat acids can be i ordered it in either the cis or infectious diseases world fashion isomeric form. Naturally developing fatty mountain are normally in the cis configuration.

Table \(\PageIndex1\): Some common Fatty Acids found in natural FatsNameAbbreviated structure FormulaCondensed structure FormulaMelting point (°C)Source
lauric acidC11H23COOHCH3(CH2)10COOH44palm kernel oil
myristic acidC13H27COOH CH3(CH2)12COOH58oil of nutmeg
palmitic acidC15H31COOHCH3(CH2)14COOH63palm oil
palmitoleic acidC15H29COOHCH3(CH2)5CH=CH(CH2)7COOH0.5macadamia oil
stearic acidC17H35COOHCH3(CH2)16COOH70cocoa butter
oleic acidC17H33COOHCH3(CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)7COOH16olive oil
linoleic acidC17H31COOHCH3(CH2)3(CH2CH=CH)2(CH2)7COOH−5canola oil
α-linolenic acidC17H29COOHCH3(CH2CH=CH)3(CH2)7COOH−11flaxseed
arachidonic acidC19H31COOHCH3(CH2)4(CH2CH=CH)4(CH2)2COOH−50liver

Two polyunsaturated fatty acids—linoleic and α-linolenic acids—are termed crucial fatty acids since humans must obtain them from your diets. Both building material are compelled for regular growth and also development, yet the human being body does no synthesize them. The body supplies linoleic mountain to synthesize plenty of of the other unsaturated fat acids, such as arachidonic acid, a precursor because that the synthesis of prostaglandins. In addition, the vital fatty acids are important for the reliable transport and metabolism that cholesterol. The average everyday diet should contain about 4–6 g of the crucial fatty acids.


Although us often draw the carbon atom in a straight line, they in reality have an ext of a zigzag construction (part (a) of figure \(\PageIndex2\)). Regarded as a whole, however, the saturation fatty mountain molecule is fairly straight (part (b) of number \(\PageIndex2\)). Together molecules pack very closely together into a decision lattice, maximizing the stamin of dispersion forces and causing fat acids and the fats obtained from them come have relatively high melt points. In contrast, every cis carbon-to-carbon double bond in an unsaturated fatty mountain produces a pronounced bending in the molecule, so the these molecules do not stack neatly. As a result, the intermolecular attractions the unsaturated fat acids (and unsaturated fats) space weaker, leading to these building material to have lower melting points. Most are liquids in ~ room temperature.


Figure \(\PageIndex2\): The framework of Saturated fat Acids. (a) there is a zigzag pattern formed by the carbon-to-carbon single bonds in the ball-and-stick design of a palmitic mountain molecule. (b) A space-filling design of palmitic acid mirrors the overall straightness of a saturation fatty acid molecule.

Waxes space esters created from long-chain fat acids and long-chain alcohols. Most natural waxes space mixtures of together esters. Tree waxes top top the surfaces of leaves, stems, flowers, and also fruits defend the plant from dehydration and also invasion by harmful microorganisms. Carnauba wax, used extensively in floor waxes, auto waxes, and also furniture polish, is mainly myricyl cerotate, derived from the pipeline of details Brazilian palm trees. Animals likewise produce wax that serve as security coatings, keeping the surface of feathers, skin, and hair pliable and also water repellent. In fact, if the waxy coating on the feathers of a water bird is liquified as a result of the bird swim in one oil slick, the feathers end up being wet and heavy, and also the bird, can not to preserve its buoyancy, drowns.

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stearic acidoleic acidpalmitic acid

Write the condensed structural formula because that each fatty acid.