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Oils and fats are widely distributed both in plants and, animals.

In plants oils and fats are stored in their seeds, roots and fruits. Ground nuts, cotton seeds, palm kernels, castor beans, olives are rich in fats and oils. These are rich in unsaturated fats.

Table 58.1. Major Fatty Acids in Some Fats

Types of Fat

Major Fatty Acid

Formula of the Fatty Acid

1. Butter, Cream or milk Butyric acid CH3-CH2-CH2-COOH
2. Coconut oil Octanoic acid CH3-(CH2)6-COOH
3. Animal fat Oleic acid and CH3-(CH2)7-CH=CH-(CH2)7-COOH
  Palmitic acid CH3-(CH2)14-COOH
4. Plant fats (Seed Oils) Oleic acid, CH3-(CH2)7-CH=CH-(CH2)7-COOH


Palmitic acid and CH3-(CH2)14-COOH


Essential fatty acids


Animals are also an important source of fats. Milk and milk products such as butter, cream, cheese are rich in fats. Meat and eggs also contain fat. Creamish white fat found in pig meat (pork) is called lard. Tallow, the fat from sheep and cattle is used largely for making soap.