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Monounsaturated fatty acid

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Definition

noun, plural: monounsaturated fatty acids

Any of a group of unsaturated fatty acids characterized by having a single double bond on the hydrocarbon chain


Supplement

A fatty acid is a long chain of hydrocarbon with a carboxylic acid at the beginning (alpha) and a methyl end (omega). An unsaturated fatty acid is a type of fatty acid where there is one or more double bonds in the chain. The presence of the double bond between carbon molecules indicates that the fatty acid molecule can absorb additional hydrogen atoms. Unsaturated fatty acids may occur in cis or trans configuration. They may also be categorized into monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

A monounsaturated fatty acid is a type of unsaturated fatty acid that has a single double bond (i.e. from mono, meaning single). Because of the presence of the double bond, the monounsaturated fatty acid has a lower melting point than a fatty acid without one (such as a saturated fatty acid). Similar to other unsaturated fatty acids, the monounsatures are liquids at room temperature. However, when put inside a ref, they turn semisolid.

Monounsaturated fatty acids are found chiefly in almonds, canola, avocados, and olive oil. Common forms are the palmitoleic acid (belongs to omega-7 fatty acids) and oleic acid (belongs to omega-9 fatty acids).


Word origin: mono- (single)

Abbreviation: MUFA

Also called:

  • monounsaturated fat
  • monounsature

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