Determination of Fat Content

  • Charles Carpenter
Part of the Food Science Texts Series book series (FSTS)


The term “lipid” refers to a group of compounds that are sparingly soluble in water, but show variable solubility in a number of organic solvents (e.g., ethyl ether, petroleum ether, acetone, ethanol, methanol, benzene). The lipid content of a food determined by extraction with one solvent may be quite different from the lipid content as determined with another solvent of different polarity. Fat content is determined often by solvent extraction methods (e.g., Soxhlet, Goldfish, Mojonnier), but it also can be determined by nonsolvent wet extraction methods (e.g., Babcock, Gerber), and by instrumental methods that rely on the physical and chemical properties of lipids (e.g., infrared, density, X-ray absorption). The method of choice depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of the sample (e.g., dry versus moist), the purpose of the analysis (e.g., official nutrition labeling or rapid quality control), and instrumentation available (e.g., Babcock uses simple glassware and equipment; infrared requires an expensive instrument).


Petroleum Ether Milk Sample Ethyl Ether Snack Food Solvent Extraction Method 
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Resource Materials

  1. AOAC International (2007) Official Methods of Analysis, 18th edn, 2005; Current through Revision 2, 2007 (On-line). AOAC International, Gaithersburg, MDGoogle Scholar
  2. Min DB, Ellefson WC (2010) Fat analysis. Ch. 8. In: Nielsen SS (ed) Food analysis, 4th edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Wehr HM, Frank JF (eds) (2004) Standard methods for the examination of dairy products. 17th edn. American Public Health Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Carpenter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition and Food SciencesUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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