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Name: Helen
Status: Student
Grade: 9-12
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: July 2005

What happens to the chemical structure of cooking oils when they are heated and cured in an oven?

This is very complicated chemistry. "Cooking oils" are esters of long chain organic acids (called "fatty acids" about 12 to 18 carbon atoms) and glycerin HO-(CH2)-CH(OH)-(CH2)-OH. If we designate the "fatty acid" = R then the cooking oil has a structure: RO-(CH2)-CH(OR)-(CH2)-OR. Heated in the oven the "R's" can break off. They can react with oxygen. They can react in any number of ways with ingredients in whatever is being baked. The results are as varied as a delicate change in taste and/or odor to a fire!

Vince Calder

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