Unsaponifiable Components

The unsaponifiable portion of fats consists of sterols, ter-penic alcohols, squalene, and hydrocarbons. In most fats the major unsaponifiable component is sterols. Animal fats contain cholesterol, and in some cases, minor amounts of the other sterols, such as lanosterol. Plant fats and oils contain phytosterols, usually at least three and sometimes four (10). The predominant phytosterol is /^-sitosterol; others are campesterol and stigmasterol. The sterols are solids with high melting points; part of the sterols in natural fats are present as esters of fatty acids, part in free form. Cholesterol makes up 99% of the sterols of fish. The sterol content of some fats and oils is given in Table 7.

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