Lecithin

Lecithin is a generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues composed of phosphoric acid, choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phospholipids (e.g., phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, and phosphatidylinositol).

Lecithin was first isolated in 1846 by the French chemist and pharmacist Theodore Gobley. In 1850 he named the phosphatidylcholine léchithine. Gobley originally isolated lecithin from egg yolk—λέκιθος (lekithos) is 'egg yolk' in ancient Greek—and established the complete chemical formula of phosphatidylcholine in 1874; in between, he had demonstrated the presence of lecithin in a variety of biological matters, including venous blood, bile, human brain tissue, fish eggs, fish roe, chicken and sheep brain.

Lecithin can easily be extracted chemically (using hexane, ethanol, acetone, petroleum ether, benzene etc.) or mechanically. It is usually available from sources such as soy beans, eggs, milk, marine sources, rapeseed, cottonseed and sunflower. It has low solubility in water but is an excellent emulsifier. In aqueous solution, its phospholipids can form either liposomes, bilayer sheets, micelles, or lamellar structures, depending on hydration and temperature. This results in a type of surfactant that is usually classified as amphipathic. Lecithin is sold as a food supplement and for medical uses. In cooking, it is sometimes used as an emulsifier and to prevent sticking, for example in nonstick cooking spray.

Read more about LecithinBiology, Production, Properties and Applications, Use With Food, and Health Effects

Other articles related to "lecithin":

Lecithin - Use With Food, and Health Effects - Compatibility With Special Diets - Religious Restrictions
... Soy-derived lecithin is considered by some to be kitniyot and prohibited on Passover for Ashkenazi Jews when many grain-based foods are forbidden, but ... Muslims are not forbidden to eat lecithin per se however, since it may be derived from animal as well as plant sources, care must be taken to ensure this source is halal ... Lecithin derived from plants and egg yolks is permissible, as is that derived from animals slaughtered according to the rules of dhabihah ...
Phosphatidylcholine
... They are also a member of the lecithin group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues ... The name "lecithin" was originally defined from the Greek lekithos (λεκιθος, egg yolk) by Theodore Nicolas Gobley, a French chemist and pharmacist of the mid-19th century, who ... are such a major component of lecithin that in some contexts the terms are sometimes used as synonyms ...
Lecithin-sphingomyelin Ratio - Evaluation
... The lecithin–sphingomyelin ratio is a marker of fetal lung maturity ... secretions from the fetal lungs into the amniotic fluid maintains the level of lecithin and sphingomyelin equally until 32–33 weeks gestation, when the lecithin ...
Lecithin Cholesterol Acyltransferase Deficiency
... Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase deficiency (LCAT deficiency) is disorder of lipoprotein metabolism ... Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase catalyzes the formation of cholesterol esters in lipoproteins ...
Lecithin-sphingomyelin Ratio
... The lecithin–sphingomyelin ratio (aka L-S or L/S ratio) is a test of fetal amniotic fluid to assess for fetal lung immaturity ... is a mixture of lipids, proteins, and glycoproteins, lecithin and sphingomyelin being two of them ... Lecithin makes the surfactant mixture more effective ...