The main difference between palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid is that palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid, whereas palmitoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, containing one double bond in its carbon chain.
Palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid are two distinct fatty acids that play essential roles in nutrition and human health. While they share some similarities in their names and chemical composition, they differ significantly in their properties and implications for well-being.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Palmitic Acid
– Definition, Features
2. What is Palmitoleic Acid
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
– Comparison of Key Differences
5. FAQ: Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
– Frequently Asked Questions
C₁₆H₃₂O₂, C₁₆H₃₀O₂, Cis-9-Hexadecenoic Acid, Hexadecanoic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid
What is Palmitic Acid
Palmitic acid is a straight-chain saturated fatty acid. Its chemical formula is C₁₆H₃₂O₂, and it has a 16-carbon atom chain with single covalent bonds between them. The absence of double bonds in its carbon chain characterizes it as a saturated fatty acid. Each carbon atom in the chain is saturated with hydrogen atoms, resulting in a rigid and linear molecular structure. The systematic name for palmitic acid is hexadecanoic acid. The structure of the compound contributes to its physical properties, including its solid state at room temperature, high melting point, and resistance to oxidative damage.
Palmitic acid is abundant in various dietary sources, both from animal and plant origins. Meat, dairy products, poultry, and seafood are the animal sources, whereas palm oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and nuts and seeds are the plant sources. Palmitic acid plays several essential roles in the human body.
Palmitic acid, like other fatty acids, serves as an energy storage molecule. It is stored in adipose tissue and can be mobilized and oxidized to produce energy when needed. Palmitic acid is a crucial component of various lipids found in cell membranes. It helps maintain membrane fluidity and stability, influencing cellular structure and function. It is a precursor for the synthesis of more complex lipids, including triglycerides and phospholipids. These lipids are involved in energy storage and cell membrane structure. Palmitic acid can act as a signaling molecule in various cellular processes. It is involved in regulating gene expression, inflammation, and metabolic pathways.
What is Palmitoleic Acid
Palmitoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid with a 16-carbon atom chain. Its systematic name is cis-9-hexadecenoic acid, and its chemical formula is C₁₆H₃₀O₂. The “cis” in its name indicates that the double bond is located on the ninth carbon atom from the methyl (CH₃) end of the chain. This double bond is responsible for its monounsaturated character, creating a bend or kink in the chain and contributing to its unique properties. This double bond introduces flexibility into the fatty acid chain, making it liquid at room temperature and distinct from saturated fats like palmitic acid.
Palmitoleic acid is present in various dietary sources, both from animal and plant origins. Fish, adipose tissue, and dairy products are animal sources, whereas sea buckthorn oil, avocado, and certain vegetable oils are some plant sources.
Similarities Between Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
- Both have 16 carbon atoms in their carbon chains.
- They share the same base structure, with a 16-carbon chain, and they both start from palmitic acid.
Difference Between Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid, while palmitoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid.
Palmitic acid is a solid at room temperature due to its saturated nature, and it has a relatively high melting point. Palmitoleic acid is a liquid at room temperature, as the presence of a double bond in its carbon chain introduces flexibility and reduces the melting point compared to palmitic acid.
Moreover, palmitic acid is commonly available in various dietary sources, including fatty cuts of meat, dairy products like cheese and butter, poultry, and some vegetable oils like palm oil and cocoa butter. However, palmitoleic acid is found in specific dietary sources, such as fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, and herring), sea buckthorn oil, some nuts like macadamia nuts, and certain vegetable oils in smaller amounts.
Being a saturated fatty acid, palmitic acid has a straight and rigid carbon chain with no kinks. The presence of a double bond in palmitoleic acid’s carbon chain introduces a bend or kink, making the molecule more flexible.
Palmitic acid plays a role in energy storage, cell membrane structure, and various metabolic processes in the body, whereas palmitoleic acid may have anti-inflammatory properties and is involved in lipid metabolism.
FAQ: Palmitic Acid and Palmitoleic Acid
Are palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid the same?
- No. Palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid are not the same.
What is the difference between palmitic acid’s and palmitoleic acid’s melting points?
- Palmitic acid has a melting point of 63 degrees Celsius, whereas palmitoleic acid has a melting point of 32 degrees Celsius.
What is another name for palmitoleic acid?
- (Z)-hexadec-9-enoic acid is another name for palmitoleic acid.
Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid, whereas palmitoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, containing one double bond in its carbon chain. Thus, this is the main difference between palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid
1. “Palmitoleic Acid.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation.
2. “The true story of palmitoleic acid: Between myth and reality.” Wiley Online Library.