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Fatty acid esters (FAEs) are a type of ester that result from the combination of a fatty acid with an alcohol. When the alcohol component is glycerol, the fatty acid esters produced can be monoglycerides, diglycerides, or triglycerides. Dietary fats are chemically triglycerides.
Esters of fatty acids are colorless, although degraded samples are sometime appear to be yellow or even brown. The triglycerides are powders, flakes, coarse powders, or granular or waxy lumps, oils or liquids. They are almost odorless.
Fatty acid esters are used in a wide range of industries for their lubricating properties, solvency and resistance to oxidation. They are becoming more popular due to their renewable content, as they are derived from sources such as vegetable oils and animal tallow.