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Fats and oils. Fats and oils. Naturally occuring. Animal fat. Vegetable oil. Marine oil. sunflower oil coconut oil. cod liver oil whale oil. lard suet. Fats and oils. Fats and oils are built from an alcohol with three -O-H groups. glycerol. Systematic name is propane-1,2,3-triol.

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fats and oils1
Fats and oils

Naturally occuring



Marine oil

sunflower oil

coconut oil

cod liver oil

whale oil



fats and oils2
Fats and oils

Fats and oils are built from an alcohol with three -O-H groups.


Systematic name is propane-1,2,3-triol

fats and oils3
Fats and oils

The other components of fat molecules are carboxylic acids

such as

Stearic acid

Systematic name is octadecanoic acid

fats and oils4
Fats and oils

Fats and oils are ESTERS of glycerol and

long chain carboxylic acids

fats and oils5
Fats and oils

Removal of water in the condensation reaction gives -

The molecular formula shown above suggests that the fat

molecule is shaped like an E, but the molecule is actually

shaped more like this:

fats and oils6
Fats and oils

Fats are mainly built from carboxylic acids with

C-C single bonds.

Stearic acid in beef fat

Oils have some C=C bonds in the carboxylic acids

from which they are made.

Oleic acid in olive oil

fats and oils7
Fats and oils


Double bonds in oil make the molecule less compact.

Less tightly packed molecules make oils liquid.


Fat molecules pack together more tightly,

making fats solid at room temperature.


Prepared by Malcolm Stephenof Mackie Academy, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire

He used free software called ‘RasTop’ to draw the ball and stick molecular images. This software can also be used to produce pdb files, interactive visualisations of the molecules.

Web sites (checked 17/07/03):

RasTop www.geneinfinity.org/rastop/

RasMol home page http://openrasmol.org/

An internet search for ‘rasmol’ or ‘chime’ will identify many potential sources of interactive molecular images.