Fats and oils both contain a similar backbone and are all hydrocarbons, but what are the major differences between the two?

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fats and oils are both derivatives of fatty acids and hence contain the same backbone. However, they differ in terms of saturation of carbon-hydrogen bonds. Fats are saturated fatty acids, while oils are unsaturated fatty acids. Fats are generally of animal origin and oils are generally derived from plants (although there are exceptions to these). Fats are also typically solids at room temperature, while oils generally tend to be liquid at room temperature. The saturated fats do not contain any double bond between carbon atoms and cannot add more hydrogen atoms in the aliphatic chain. On the other hand, oils or unsaturated fats contain at least one double bond between carbon atoms and can add more hydrogen atoms.  Fats also tend to have higher melting points as compared to oils.

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