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Unsaturation

Unsaturation. A condition in fats (q.v.) and oils (q.v.) that results when any of their constituent fatty acids (q.v.) contains one or more double bonds (q.v.), which are formed when any carbon atom (q.v.) in the hydrocarbon chain (q.v.) of the fatty acids lacks a hydrogen atom. The greater the degree of unsaturation of a fat, the more it tends to be fluid at room temperature (q.v.) and susceptible to oxidative rancidity (q.v.). Hydrogenation (q.v.) is an effective method of reducing unsaturation and thereby increase the fat's plasticity (q.v.) and oxidative stability.