Food versus fuel characteristics of vegetable oils and animal fats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vegetable oils and animal fats are major components of food products and are used extensively for cooking. Recently, attention has been focused on their uses for making fuels for engines and heating. Vegetable oils and animal fats comprise mixtures of fatty acids in proportions that depend on the source materials. These fatty acids vary with respect to carbon chain length and degree of saturation. Fatty acid composition has been shown to have impacts on the properties of oils and fats and thus on both food and fuel quality. Some of these source materials also contain natural antioxidants that are beneficial for both food and fuel applications. The objectives of this article are to highlight the different requirements in the properties of vegetable oils and animal fats for health and for fuel, and to provide an assessment of the suitability of different materials as sources for food and/or fuel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1407-1414
Number of pages8
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Animal fat
  • Biodiesel
  • Food characteristics
  • Fuel characteristics
  • Vegetable oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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