Answer to Question #87910 in Biochemistry for Cierra
Fats and oils are called triglycerides (or triacylcylgerols) because they are esters composed of three fatty acid units joined to glycerol, a trihydroxy alcohol. If all three OH groups on the glycerol molecule are esterified with the same fatty acid, the resulting ester is called a simple triglyceride. Although simple triglycerides have been synthesized in the laboratory, they rarely occur in nature. Instead, a typical triglyceride obtained from naturally occurring fats and oils contains two or three different fatty acid components and is thus termed a mixed triglyceride. A triglyceride is called a fat if it is a solid at 25°C; it is called an oil if it is a liquid at that temperature. These differences in melting points reflect differences in the degree of unsaturation and number of carbon atoms in the constituent fatty acids. Triglycerides obtained from animal sources are usually solids, while those of plant origin are generally oils. Therefore, we commonly speak of animal fats and vegetable oils.
More information: https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Introductory_Chemistry/Book%3A_The_Basics_of_GOB_Chemistry_(Ball_et_al.)/17%3A_Lipids/17.2%3A_Fats_and_Oils
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