But some saturated fatty acids are also found in vegetable sources like vegetable oil, coconut oil and peanut oil. Excessive consumption of saturated fatty acids might lead to heart diseases. They become soft solids at room temperature, and melt while cooking. These are mostly found in animals (30%), and plant (5%) fats and are an important component of shea butter and cocoa butter. The following illustrations explain why. the chemical bonds in the fat molecule are in hydrogen atoms. Biosynthesis of oleic acid occurs within the body by dehydrogenation of stearic acid in the presence of the enzyme stearoyl-CoA 9-desaturase. Learn how your comment data is processed. It’s easy to see that the double bond causes a bend in the carbon chain, and prevents the chains from coming near each other and interacting strongly. It is naturally found in palm oil and palm kernel oil, along with other sources like butter, cheese, milk, and meat. Unsaturated fatty acids have a lesser shelf life and thus cannot be stored for a long time without being spoiled. Thus, saturated fatty acids make up the fat part of all lipids and can be synthesized in the body. Stearic acid is an example of long-chained saturated fatty acids with a hydrocarbon bone of 18 carbon atoms. Fatty acids obtained from an animal source are mostly even-numbered linear chains of saturated fatty acids. The result is a “trans fat”, a fatty acid which has a double bond but doesn’t have a “bent” structure, as the following figure shows: This linear molecule looks a lot like a saturated fat, and shares the property of a high melting point, but has a big problem: Trans double bonds are very rare in nature and the human body has a hard time reacting with them. In humans, dietary stearic acid is oxidatively saturated to oleic acid, and it also is associated with lower LDL levels than other saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids do not contain double bonds C-C (only single bonds), whereas unsaturated fatty acids contain one or more double bonds C=C. 20 Differences Between Saturated and Unsaturated fatty acids, Key Differences (Saturated fatty acids vs Unsaturated fatty acids), Read Also: Omega oxidation (ω-oxidation) of fatty acid. This group is why they are called acids. The more hydrogen atoms a fatty acid has, the more “saturated” it is, and the higher its melting temperature will be. These linear molecules are able to come close to each other and create a dense structure, which allows for strong intermolecular interactions. These are mostly solid and are found in animal fat like butter, meat, and whole milk. S. Chand and Company. It “opens” the double bond and allows the carbon atoms to react with hydrogen. Some examples of popularly known saturated fatty acids include stearic acid, palmitic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, myristic acids, etc. Saturated fatty acids have carbon atoms with maximum possible hydrogen atoms bound to them. Saturated fatty acids also have low rancidity. Dr. Avi SaigDepartment of Neurology and Davidson Institute of Science EducationWeizmann Institute of Science. In the first illustration, seven molecules of completely saturated fats contain only single covalent bonds between the carbon atoms (represented as the corners of the zigzag line), and each carbon is bound to two hydrogen atoms, neither of which is shown in the illustration. The term ‘unsaturated’ indicates that the carbons atoms do not have the maximum possible hydrogen atoms bound to carbon atoms. Due to the presence of double bonds, the cis and trans conformation of these molecules are important. The triglyceride is considered as the common and simple type of fat, having three fatty acids and glyceride. Chemically speaking, saturated fats are very stable, and do not easily react with other molecules or break. © 2020 Microbe Notes. Saturated fatty acids are also soluble in vitamins. Saturated fatty acids are the simplest form of fats that are unbranched linear chains of CH 2 groups linked together by carbon-carbon single bonds with a terminal carboxylic acid.. Image Source: BioNinja. They tend to build up along the sides of blood vessels, along with other materials, and over time they may clog them, which may cause a heart attack or a stroke, depending on which blood vessel was clogged. Saturated fats can impact your health. Chances of oxidation and rancidity are also higher in unsaturated fatty acids. In turn, the weak bonds between the molecules make for a lower melting point.

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