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A colorless, odorless, viscous metabolic intermediate and structural component of the major classes of biological lipids, triglycerides and phosphatidyl phospholipids.


For human consumption, glycerol is classified by the FDA among the sugar alcohols as a caloric macronutrient. It is used as antifreeze, a plasticizer, and a food sweetener and in the manufacture of dynamite, cosmetics etc.

It is obtained from fats by saponification, or, on a large scale, by the action of superheated steam.

Word origin: Greek Glykeros, glykys, sweet.

Also called: glycerol or glycerin