Fats and Oils - Important Parameters

The iodine number (iodine value) is a property to determine the degree of unsaturated fatty acids in oils or fats. The iodine number can be quickly and easily determined by refractive index measurement. The specific iodine number is also linked to the saponification number and the acid value of a certain oil or fat.

A bicycle runs on fat and saves you money. A car runs on money and makes you fat. In case of food, oil is the better choice. Why? Because it is healthier. Why? It has a higher content of unsaturated fatty acids. So what does it mean?

Naturally occurring fats (solid) and oils (liquid) are mixtures which are mainly composed of lipids, which means a mono-, di- and triglyceride of the trivalent alcohol glycerol.

For many years, medical researchers claimed that saturated fatty acids and cholesterol are responsible for coronary heart diseases. Nowadays it is important to consider the overall dietary picture 

Common chemical parameters in the specification of oils and fats are iodine number, saponification number, ester value, acid value, density, and refractive index. The refractive index value increases with increasing chain length, number of double bonds and extend of conjugation

Iodine numbers indicate the amount of double bonds in the unsaturated fatty acids of the oils, fats or waxes. A higher iodine value indicates a higher degree of unsaturation in the sample.

The refractive index correlates with the iodine value of a specific oil or fat which makes the Abbemat refractometer ideal for direct iodine number determination.

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