Hydrogenation means adding hydrogen to a substance. Liquid vegetable oils that are unsaturated will react with hydrogen at about 60 °C in the presence of a nickel catalyst.
The transition metal nickel is used in the hydrogenation of vegetable oils to make margarines and soft-spreads.
In this process a catalyst (most often sodium methoxide), is added to a dry oil and the triglyceride exchange begins. This process occurs at high temperatures and creates three by-products (sodium soaps, fatty methyl esters and monoglycerides) in addition to the interesterified fats.
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