palmitin (pălˈmətĭn) [key], fat that is the triglyceride of palmitic acid, CH3(CH2)14CO2H, i.e., the tripalmitate ester of glycerol. It is a white crystalline solid at ordinary temperatures, insoluble in water but soluble in ethanol and ether. When it is heated with an alkali (a process called saponification), a soap is produced. Palmitin and other palmitate esters occur abundantly in palm oil, lard, and tallow and also in olive oil, cottonseed oil, and butter—in fact, in most fats and oils.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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