Wily tuberculosis bacteria can vary its diet to infect you longer

Worldwide, approximately one in four people is infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and while overall New Zealand has relatively low rates of TB, Māori and Pacific people are eight times more likely to be affected than ...

Shipment tracking for 'fat parcels' in the body

Without fat, nothing works in the body: Fats serve as energy suppliers and important building blocks, including for the envelopes of living cells. Numerous diseases are related to disorders in fat metabolism such as obesity ...

Making infant formula more like human breast milk

U.K.-based scientists have engineered plants to produce an oil that mimics the chemical structure of human milk fat, a major component of breast milk. Previous studies suggest the human form of this molecule, triacylglycerol, ...

Nanoscale 'glass' bottles could enable targeted drug delivery

Tiny silica bottles filled with medicine and a special temperature-sensitive material could be used for drug delivery to kill malignant cells only in certain parts of the body, according to a study published recently by researchers ...

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Fatty acid

In chemistry, especially biochemistry, a fatty acid is a carboxylic acid often with a long unbranched aliphatic tail (chain), which is either saturated or unsaturated. Carboxylic acids as short as butyric acid (4 carbon atoms) are considered to be fatty acids, whereas fatty acids derived from natural fats and oils may be assumed to have at least eight carbon atoms, caprylic acid (octanoic acid), for example. The most abundant natural fatty acids have an even number of carbon atoms because their biosynthesis involves acetyl-CoA, a coenzyme carrying a two-carbon-atom group (see fatty acid synthesis).

Fatty acids are produced by the hydrolysis of the ester linkages in a fat or biological oil (both of which are triglycerides), with the removal of glycerol. See oleochemicals.

Fatty acids are aliphatic monocarboxylic acids derived from, or contained in esterified form in, an animal or vegetable fat, oil, or wax. Natural fatty acids commonly have a chain of four to 28 carbons (usually unbranched and even numbered), which may be saturated or unsaturated. By extension, the term is sometimes used to embrace all acyclic aliphatic carboxylic acids. This would include acetic acid, which is not usually considered a fatty acid because it is so short that the triglyceride triacetin made from it is substantially miscible with water and is thus not a lipid.

The blend of fatty acids exuded by mammalian skin, together with lactic acid and pyruvic acid, are probably as distinctive as fingerprints, and enable dogs to differentiate between various people. A team from Yale University have in 2009 developed the electronic equivalent of a dog's sense of smell.

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