A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 

For more detailed information on these and other aspects of fat technology, enquire about specific training courses run by Geoff Talbot

 


  A

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  B

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  C

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cocoa butter equivalent (CBE) - A cocoa butter equivalent or CBE is a fat which is equivalent in both triglyceride composition and physical characteristics to cocoa butter. Under the new EU chocolate regulations the composition of CBEs is very closely defined (see Hot Topics for further information)

 

  D

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diacylglycerols -

 

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  F

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fatty acid - A fatty acid is composed of a long, usually linear carbon-carbon chain with a carboxylic acid group at one end. The carboxylic acid group of a fatty acid can react with the hydroxyl group of glycerol to form triglycerides or partial glycerides.

fractionation - Fractionation is a means of separating fats into high-melting and low-melting fractions. In 'dry' fractionation the fat is held at a temperature at which it is partially liquid. The liquid phase (the 'oleine') and the solid phase (the 'stearine') are separated by filtration. In 'wet' or 'solvent' fractionation the fat is dissolved in a solvent (usually either acetone or hexane) and again held at a temperature such that part of the fat crystallises. The two phases are again separated by filtration. Solvent fractionation is the more expensive process because of the costs associated with solvent recovery. It does, however, give a 'sharper' stearine fraction.

 

  G

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glycerol - glycerol is a chain of three carbon atoms each one of which has a hydroxyl (OH) or alcohol grouping attached to it. Glycerol forms the backbone of all fats.

 

  H

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hydrogenation - Hydrogenation is a process by which hydrogen is reacted with an oil or fat in the presence of a catalyst. The result is that cis mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids are converted into more saturated fatty acids or into the corresponding trans fatty acid. Because of the current concern over the presence of trans fatty acids in the diet, hydrogenation as a process is coming under scrutiny

 

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interestification - Interestification processes can take two forms. One is catalysed either by sodium or a sodium derivative and results in the complete randomisation of the fatty acids on the glycerol backbone. The other is catalysed by an enzyme and is much more specific in that only the fatty acids on the outside (1,3) positions of the glyceride are randomised whilst the fatty acid at the central position is left in place. Both methods result in a large change in the physical characteristics of the fat.

 

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  K

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  M

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monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) - A monounsaturated fatty acid is one in which one of the carbon-carbon linkages in the fatty acid chain is unsaturated, i.e. it exists as a carbon-carbon double bond. Such a double bond puts a bend in the chain. The most common monounsaturated fatty acid is oleic acid in which the double bond is between the ninth and tenth carbon atoms.

 

  N

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  P

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partial glyceride - If only one or two fatty acids are linked to glycerol then the resulting molecule is known as a partial glyceride. Where one fatty acid is linked the result is a monoglyceride or monoacylglycerol; where two fatty acids are linked the result is a diglyceride or diacylglycerol.

polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) - A polyunsaturated fatty acid is one in which more than one of the carbon-carbon linkages in the fatty acid chain is unsaturated, i.e. they exist as carbon-carbon double bonds. Such double bonds puts a bend in the chain wherever they are located. The most common polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils are linoleic acid with two double bonds and linolenic acid with three double bonds.

 

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refining - Refining is a process in which impurities are removed from an oil or fat thus making it suitable for consumption. Generally there are three stages to refining - neutralisation in which free fatty acids are removed; bleaching in which pigments are removed; and deodorisation in which off-flavours and odours are removed. More recently continuous refining processes usually based on removing these impurities by heat treatment have been developed.

 

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saturated fatty acid (SAFA) - A saturated fatty acid is one in which all of the carbon-carbon bonds in the chain are saturated single bonds. This gives the chain a linear structure.

 

  T

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trans fatty acids (TFA) - The carbon-carbon double bonds to be found naturally in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in vegetable oils are in the cis configuration. This means that the hydrogen atoms linked to the two carbon atoms are on the same side of the double bond. If, however, they are on opposite sides the fatty acid is said to be a trans fatty acid. Trans fatty acids are generally introduced into vegetable oils by the process of hydrogenation. Their presence in foods is currently under intense scrutiny and is further covered under the Hot Topics section.

triglyceride - Triglycerides or, to give them their more scientific names, triacylglycerols are essentially what most people know as oils and fats. They are glycerol molecules to which three fatty acids are attached by means of an interaction between the carboxylic acid groups of the acids and the hydroxyl groups of glycerol. The nature and position of the fatty acids on the triglyceride are what define the physical characteristics of the triglyceride.

 

  U

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Glossary