Section: 7 | Composition and Properties of Common Oils and Fats |
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John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 103rd Edition (Internet Version 2022), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.
If a specific table is cited, use the format: "Physical Constants of Organic Compounds," in CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 103rd Edition (Internet Version 2022), John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.


This table lists some of the most common naturally occurring oils and fats. The oils and fats consist mainly of esters of glycerol (i.e., triglycerides) with fatty acids of 10 to 22 carbon atoms. The four fatty acids with the highest concentration are given for each oil; concentrations are given in weight percent. Because there is often a wide variation in composition depending on the source of the oil sample, a range (or sometimes an average) is generally given. More complete data on composition, including minor fatty acids, sterols, and tocopherols, can be found in the references. Column definitions for the table are as follows.

Column heading Definition
Name Name of oil or fat; the oils and fats are listed alphabetically by common name 
Source Type of source: plant, fish and other marine life, or land animal
Acid 1
Fatty acid with highest oil  or fat. Acids are designated by the codes described in the table “Properties of Fatty Acids and Their Methyl Esters” in this section; that table gives the systematic and common names of the acids. Thus 18:2 9c,12c indicates a C18 acid with two double bonds in the 9 and 12 positions, both with a cis configuration (cis,cis-9,12-octadecadienoic acid, or linoleic acid)
Conc. 1
Concentration of Acid 1, in weight %
Acid 2 Fatty acid with second highest oil or fat concentration; see definition of Acid 1 for code explanation
Conc. 2 Concentration of Acid 2, in weight %
Acid 3 Fatty acid with third highest oil or fat concentration; see definition of Acid 1 for code explanation
Conc. 3 Concentration of Acid 3, in weight %
Acid 4 Fatty acid with fourth highest oil or fat concentration; see definition of Acid 1 for code explanation
Conc. 4 Concentration of Acid 4, in weight %
tmp The normal melting point, in °C
ρ Typical value of the density of the oil or fat, in g cm-3; superscript indicates the temperature in °C
nD Typical value of the refractive index; superscript indicates the temperature in °C
Sapon. value Saponification value or number; the number of milligrams (mg) of potassium hydroxide (KOH) required to completely saponify 1 g of the oil or fat
Iodine value Iodine value or number; the number of grams of iodine taken up by 100 g of the oil or fat; a measure of the degree of unsaturation of the oil or fat


The assistance of Frank D. Gunstone in preparing this table is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Firestone, D., Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Oils, Fats, and Waxes, Second Edition, AOCS Press, Urbana, IL, 2006.
  2. Gunstone, F. D., Harwood, J. L., and Dijkstra, A. J., eds., The Lipid Handbook, Third Edition, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2006.
  3. Dawson, R. M. C., Elliott, D. C., Elliott, W. H., and Jones, K. M., Data for Biochemical Research, Third Edition, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1986.
  4. Altman, P. L., and Dittmer, D. S., eds., Biology Data Book, Second Edition, Vol. 1, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, MD, 1972.

Composition and Properties of Common Oils and Fats

NameSourceAcid 1Conc. 1/
Acid 2Conc. 2/
Acid 3Conc. 3/
Acid 4Conc. 4/
tmp/ºCρ/g cm-3nDSapon. valueIodine value
Continued on next page...
Almond kernel oilPlants18:1 9c43-70%18:2 9c,12c24-30%16:04-13%18:01-10%0.910251.46726188-20089-101
Anchovy oilMarine animals16:016-20%20:5 6c,9c,12c,15c,17c10-20%18:1 9c9-14%16:1 undefined8-12%191-194163-169
Apricot kernel oilPlants18:1 9c58-66%18:2 9c,12c29-33%16:04.6-6%18:01%0.910251.46925185-19997-110
Argan seed oilPlants18:1 9c42-55%18:2 9c,12c30-34%16:012-16%18:02-7%0.912201.46720189-19592-102
Avocado pulp oilPlants18:1 9c56-74%18:2 9c,12c10-17%16:09-18%16:1 9c3-9%0.912251.46625177-19885-90
Babassu palm oilPlants12:040-55%14:011-27%18:1 9c9-20%16:05.2-11%240.914251.45040245-25610-18
Beef tallowLand animals18:1 undefined31-50%18:025-40%16:020-37%14:01-6%470.902251.45440190-20033-47
Blackcurrant oilPlants18:2 9c,12c45-50%18:3 6c,9c,12c14-20%18:3 9c,12c,15c12-15%18:1 9c9-13%0.923201.48020185-195173-182
Borage (starflower) oilPlants18:2 9c,12c36-40%18:3 6c,9c,12c17-25%18:1 9c14-21%16:09.4-12%189-192141-160
Borneo tallowPlants18:039-43%18:1 9c34-37%16:018-21%20:01.0%380.8551001.45640189-20029-38
ButterfatLand animals16:028.1% (av.)18:1 9c20.8% (av.)14:010.8% (av.)18:010.6% (av.)320.934151.45540210-23226-40
Cameline oilPlants18:3 9c,12c,15c33-38%18:2 9c,12c15-16%20:1 total14-16%18:1 9c12-24%0.924151.47720180-190127-155
Canola (rapeseed) oil (low erucic)Plants18:1 9c52-67%18:2 9c,12c16-25%18:3 9c,12c,15c6-14%16:03.3-6.0%-100.915201.46640182-193110-126
Canola (rapeseed) oil (low linolenic)Plants18:1 9c59-66%18:2 9c,12c24-29%16:04-5%18:3 9c,12c,15c2-3%-1091
Capelin oilMarine animals18:1 9c12-18%22:1 undefined9-25%20:1 undefined9-27%16:08-12%1.46350185-20294-164
Caraway seed oilPlants18:1 9c40%18:2 9c,12c30%18:1 6c26%16:03%1.47135178128
Cashew nut oilPlants18:1 9c57-80%18:2 9c,12c16-22%16:04-17%18:02-12%0.914151.46340180-19679-89
Castor oilPlants18:1 12-OH,9c88%18:2 9c,12c3-5%18:1 undefined2.9-6%22:02.1%-180.952251.47525176-18781-91
Cherry kernel oilPlants18:2 9c,12c42-45%18:1 9c35-49%16:04-9%18:3 9c,11t,13t3-100.918251.46840190-198110-118

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