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How Chevreul (1786-1889) based his conclusions on his analytical results

By Dijkstra Albert J.


In 1811, when Chevreul started to study animal oils and fats, organic chemistry was still very much in its infancy because it had to rely on natural products and these tended to be mixtures or impure. Some organic compounds like alcohol and tartaric acid were available as pure compounds but they were exceptions in an otherwise chaotic world. How to create some order in this chaos? In the Introduction to his monograph, Chevreul argues strongly in favour of a painstaking and systematic approach to experimentation. His own work is a prime example of this approach and this could well be the reason why his monograph was still reasonably up to date when it was reprinted on the occasion of the centenary of the author, the reason why he is the father of lipid chemistr

Topics: Chevreul, analytical chemistry, elemental analysis, fatty acids, glycerol, Oils, fats, and waxes, TP670-699
Publisher: John Libbey Eurotext
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1051/ocl.2009.0239
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