Fatty acids – naming descriptors
Fatty acids are described according to the number of carbons in the chain and the number of double bonds. For example, a saturated fatty acid (SFA) with a chain length of 18 carbons and no double bonds is denoted as C18:0, while an unsaturated fatty acid with a chain length of 18 carbons and two double bonds can be denoted as C18:2. Unsaturated fatty acids with one double bond are referred to as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) while those with more than one double bond are referred to as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). The more unsaturated the fatty acids in a fat/oil source then the ‘softer’ is the oil as melting point decreases with increasing unsaturation, but increases with increasing chain length.