Tips from A doctoral student in food science wanted to know if bio- diesel producers would be willing to pay a premium for distillers corn oil with a lower free fatty acid (FFA) content.
q: How do you measure the molecular mass of oil?
A: Animal- and plant-based oils and fats are composed
of a mixture of triacylglycerol (TAG) species, each
with its own molecular mass. For this reason, oils
and fats do not have a single molecular mass. Rather,
they have an average molecular mass that depends
on the mass fraction of each TAG species in the
oil. The molecular mass distribution and resulting
average molecular mass can be determined using
gel permeation chromatography and/or laser light
One community member pointed out that
the molecular weight can be calculated from
the composition (fatty acid content), but that a
correction must be done in the case of free fatty acids
or oligomers. Another member suggested a method
(Picariello, 2007) that uses matrix-assisted laser
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