OBJECTIVE - Because direct adipose tissue free fatty acid (FFA) storage may contribute to body fat distribution, we measured FFA (palmitate) storage rates and fatty acid (FA) storage enzymes/proteins in omental and abdominal subcutaneous fat. RESEARCH DESIGN ANDMETHODS - Elective surgery patients received a bolus of [1-14C]palmitate followed by omental and abdominal subcutaneous fat biopsies to measure direct FFA storage. Long chain acyl-CoA synthetase (ACS) and diacylglycerol acyltransferase activities, CD36, fatty acid-binding protein, and fatty acid transport protein 1 were measured. RESULTS - Palmitate tracer storage (dpm/g adipose lipid) and calculated palmitate storage rates were greater in omental than abdominal subcutaneous fat in women (1.2 ± 0.8 vs. 0.7 ± 0.4 μmol · kg adipose lipid-1 · min-1, P = 0.005) and men (0.7 ± 0.2 vs. 0.2 ± 0.1, P < 0.001), and both were greater in women than men (P < 0.0001). Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue palmitate storage rates correlated with ACS activity (women: r = 0.66, P = 0.001; men: r = 0.70, P = 0.007); in men, CD36 was also independently related to palmitate storage rates. The content/activity of FA storage enzymes/proteins in omental fat was dramatically lower in those with more visceral fat. In women, only omental palmitate storage rates were correlated (r = 0.54, P = 0.03) with ACS activity. CONCLUSIONS - Some adipocyte FA storage factors correlate with direct FFA storage, but sex differences in this process in visceral fat do not account for sex differences in visceral fatness. The reduced storage proteins in those with greater visceral fat suggest that the storage factors we measured are not a predominant cause of visceral adipose tissue accumulation.