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Polyunsaturated fatty acid

The polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are fatty acids which contains more than one double bond.


Methylene Interrupted Polyenes

These fatty acids have 2 or more cis double bonds which are separated from each other by a single methylene group. (This form is also sometimes called a divinylmethane pattern.) [1]

Methylene- interrupted double bonds

The essential fatty acids comprise the omega-3 and -6 methylene-interrupted fatty acids. See more at Essential fatty acids—Nomenclature


Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Omega-3 fatty acids
16:3 (n-3) all-cis 7,10,13-hexadecatrienoic acid
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 18:3 (n-3) all-cis-9,12,15-octadecatrienoic acid
Stearidonic acid 18:4 (n-3) all-cis-6,9,12,15,-octadecatetraenoic acid
Eicosatetraenoic acid 20:4 (n-3) all-cis-8,11,14,17-eicosatetraenoic acid
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 20:5 (n-3) all-cis-5,8,11,14,17-eicosapentaenoic acid
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, Clupanodonic acid) 22:5 (n-3) all-cis-7,10,13,16,19-docosapentaenoic
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 22:6 (n-3) all-cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid
  24:5 (n-3) all-cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid
Nisinic acid 24:6 (n-3) all-cis-6,9,12,15,18,21-tetracosenoic acid


Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Omega-6 fatty acids
Linoleic acid 18:2 (n-6) all-cis-9,12-octadecadienoic acid
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) 18:3 (n-6) all-cis-6,9,12-octadecatrienoic acid
Eicosadienoic acid 20:2 (n-6) all-cis-11,14-eicosadienoic acid
Dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) 20:3 (n-6) all-cis-8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid
Arachidonic acid (AA) 20:4 (n-6) all-cis-5,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid
Docosadienoic acid 22:2 (n-6) all-cis-13,16-docosadienoic acid
Adrenic acid 22:4 (n-6) all-cis-7,10,13,16-docosatetraenoic acid
Docosapentaenoic acid (Osbond acid) 22:5 (n-6) all-cis-4,7,10,13,16-docosapentaenoic acid


Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Omega-9 fatty acids, mono- and polysaturated
Oleic acid 18:1 (n-9) cis-9-octadecenoic acid
Eicosenoic acid 20:1 (n-9) cis-11-eicosenoic acid
Mead acid 20:3 (n-9) all-cis-5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid
Erucic acid 22:1 (n-9) cis-13-docosenoic acid
Nervonic acid 24:1 (n-9) cis-15-tetracosenoic acid

Conjugated fatty acids

Conjugated double bonds
Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Conjugated fatty acids  have two or more conjugated double bonds
Conjugated Linoleic Acids (two conjugated double bonds)
Rumenic acid 18:2 (n-7) 9Z,11E-octadeca-9,11-dienoic acid
  18:2 (n-6) 10E,12Z-octadeca-9,11-dienoic acid
Conjugated Linolenic Acids (three conjugated double bonds)
α-Calendic acid 18:3 (n-6) 8E,10E,12Z-octadecatrienoic acid
β-Calendic acid 18:3 (n-6) 8E,10E,12E-octadecatrienoic acid
Jacaric acid 18:3 (n-6) 8E,10Z,12E-octadecatrienoic acid
α-Eleostearic acid 18:3 (n-5) 9E,11E,13Z-octadeca-9,11,13-trienoic acid
β-Eleostearic acid 18:3 (n-5) 9E,11E,13E-octadeca-9,11,13-trienoic acid
Catalpic acid 18:3 (n-5) 9Z,11Z,13E-octadeca-9,11,13-trienoic acid
Punicic acid 18:3 (n-5) 9E,11Z,13E-octadeca-9,11,13-trienoic acid
Rumelenic acid 18:3 (n-3) 9E,11Z,15E-octadeca-9,11,15-trienoic acid
α-Parinaric acid 18:4 (n-3) 9E,11Z,13Z,15E-octadeca-9,11,13,15-trienoic acid
β-Parinaric acid 18:4 (n-3) all trans-octadeca-9,11,13,15-trienoic acid
Bosseopentaenoic acid 20:5 (n-6) 5Z,8Z,10E,12E,14Z-eicosanoic acid

Other Polyunsaturates

Common name Lipid name Chemical name
Pinolenic acid 18:3 (n-6) (5Z,9Z,12Z)-octadeca-5,9,12-trienoic acid
Podocarpic acid 20:3 (n-6) (5Z,11Z,14Z)-eicosa-5,11,14-trienoic acid

Function and effects

The biological effects of the ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are largely mediated by their mutual interactions, see Essential fatty acid interactions for detail.

See also



  1. ^ Baggott, James (1997). The divinylmethane pattern in fatty acids. Salt Lake City, UT: Knowledge Weavers. 

General References

  • Cyberlipid. Polyenoic Fatty Acids. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  • Gunstone, Frank D. Lipid Glossary 2. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  • Adlof, R. O. and Gunstone, F. D. (2003-9-17). Common (non-systematic) Names for Fatty Acids. Retrieved on 2007-01-24.
  • Heinz (1983). "Similarities and Differences in Lipid Metabolism of Chloroplasts Isolated from 18:3 and 16:3 Plants". Plant Physiol 72 (2): 273-279. PMID 16662992.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Polyunsaturated_fatty_acid". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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