What Is Saponification?

Describe saponification as the conversion in basic solution of fats and oils to glycerol and salts of fatty acids


  • is the conversion of fats and oils (forms of triglycerides/triacylglycerols/TAGS) in a basic solution to produce glycerol and a salt of a fatty acid which is known as soap.
  • The negatively charged hydroxide ion of the base (e.g. NaOH) attacks the partially positive carbonyl carbon of fats/oils, leading to bond breaking between the glycerol and the carboxyl group present in fats/oils.
  • The metal ion from the base (e.g. Na+ ) is attracted to the carboxylate produced after cleavage of fats/oils, forming a salt of fatty acid (soap)