Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. Its molecular formula is CH3(CH2)14COOH. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees (palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil). The word palmitic is from the French “palmitique”, the pith of the palm tree. Palmitic acid was discovered by Edmond FrÃ©my in 1840, in saponified palm oil. Butter, cheese, milk and meat also contain this fatty acid. Palmitate is a term for the salts or esters of palmitic acid. The palmitate anion is the observed form of palmitic acid at neutral pH.