Vegetable fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Physically, oils are liquid at room temperature, and fats are solid. Chemically, both fats and oils are composed of triglycerides, as contrasted with waxes which lack glycerin in their structure. Although many different parts of plants may yield oil, in commercial practice, oil is extracted primarily from seeds.
The melting temperature distinction between oils and fats is imprecise, since definitions of room temperature vary, and typically natural oils have a melting range instead of a single melting point.
Vegetable fats and oils may be edible or inedible. Examples of inedible vegetable fats and oils include processed linseed oil, tung oil, and castor oil used in lubricants, paints, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial purposes. Although thought of as esters of glycerin and a varying blend of fatty acids, fats and oils also typically contain free fatty acids, monoglycerides, and diglycerides.
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