Interesterification is a process often used to increase the solidity of a fat without partial hydrogenation.
Interesterification can be used to combine the fatty acids of liquid oil with a fully hydrogenated fat to create a trans fat solution. This allows the liquid oil and the solid fat to be combined in a more permanent way where they can now take on a true combined function.
The interesterification process does not change the nutritional profile. It simply causes a redistribution of the fatty acids on the glycerol backbone. It may be accomplished by chemical or enzymatic processes.
Both chemical and enzymatic interesterification rearrange the fatty acids across the glycerol backbone of the triglycride.
After breaking the triglycerides molecule apart, the fatty acid molecules can be reconfigured, combining any three Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, or saturated molecules, in whatever combination is sought. The chosen combination determines the hardness of the fat.
The interesterification process can produce any type of fat or oil. This includes heavy fats suitable for deep-frying, semi-solid fats to make margarine, or liquid oils for bottling.
Interesterification has been used to manufacture fats for use in the confectionery industry for many years.
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