Fatty acid primer

A quick guide to how the carbon bonds in fatty acids can be arranged

Saturated fat molecules (below, left) do not contain double bonds between their carbon atoms, while unsaturated fat molecules (below, right) contain one or more double bonds between their carbon atoms.

unsaturated and saturated bonds
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‘Big Picture: Fat’ (2015)

 

In unsaturated fats, the cis configuration is usual. In trans fats, some bonds are flipped.

cis and trans fats
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‘Big Picture: Fat’ (2015)

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘Fat’ in December 2015.

Topic:
Cell biology
Issue:
Fat
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development