fats and oils, group of organic substances that form an important part of the diet and also are useful in many industries. The fats are usually solid, the oils generally liquid at ordinary room temperatures. Some tropical products, liquids in their sites of origin, become solids in cooler climates; in commerce these often retain the name originally given, e.g., palm oil and coconut oil. Chemically fats and oils are either simple or mixed glyceryl esters of organic acids belonging to the fatty-acid series (see triglycerides; fatty acids). Fats and oils are derived from both plant and animal sources.
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