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Figure 2. Three principal components of soybean lecithin. Source: Ref. 2.

diolipids, and other minor phospholipids. Minor amounts of sterols and sugars are carried through the manufacturing process. Sitosterol and stigmasterol are found in vegetable lecithin; cholesterol is found in animal sources.


Vegetable and Animal. The primary source of lecithin is from the plant kingdom, with the highest concentrations in seeds from soy, corn, rapeseed, and sunflower (4). Egg and brain are the major sources from the animal kingdom (5).

Microbial and Synthetic. Phospholipids are available from the extraction of microbes (6), and chemically derived and semisynthetic products (7) are available for medical research and cosmetics.

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