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Learning objectives

Describe the chemical composition of lipids

  • Describe the unique characteristics and diverse structures of lipids
  • Compare and contrast triacylglycerides (triglycerides) and phospholipids.
  • Describe how phospholipids are used to construct biological membranes.

Although they are composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen, lipid molecules may also contain oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous. Lipids serve numerous and diverse purposes in the structure and functions of organisms. They can be a source of nutrients, a storage form for carbon, energy-storage molecules, or structural components of membranes and hormones. Lipids comprise a broad class of many chemically distinct compounds, the most common of which are discussed in this section.

Fatty acids and triacylglycerides

The fatty acid s are lipids that contain long-chain hydrocarbons terminated with a carboxylic acid functional group. Because the long hydrocarbon chain , fatty acids are hydrophobic (“water fearing”) or nonpolar . Fatty acids with hydrocarbon chains that contain only single bonds are called saturated fatty acid s because they have the greatest number of hydrogen atoms possible and are, therefore, “saturated” with hydrogen. Fatty acids with hydrocarbon chains containing at least one double bond are called unsaturated fatty acid s because they have fewer hydrogen atoms. Saturated fatty acids have a straight, flexible carbon backbone, whereas unsaturated fatty acids have “kinks” in their carbon skeleton because each double bond causes a rigid bend of the carbon skeleton. These differences in saturated versus unsaturated fatty acid structure result in different properties for the corresponding lipids in which the fatty acids are incorporated. For example, lipids containing saturated fatty acids are solids at room temperature, whereas lipids containing unsaturated fatty acids are liquids.

A triacylglycerol , or triglyceride , is formed when three fatty acids are chemically linked to a glycerol molecule ( [link] ). Triglycerides are the primary components of adipose tissue (body fat), and are major constituents of sebum (skin oils). They play an important metabolic role, serving as efficient energy-storage molecules that can provide more than double the caloric content of both carbohydrates and proteins .

A diagram showing a triglyceride is made of a glycerol and three fatty acids. Glycerol is a 3 carbon chain with an OH on each carbon. The H on each OH is highlighted. Fatty acids are long carbon chains with a C that has an OH and a double bonded O at the end. The OH of this C is highlighted. Three fatty acids are shown. Each fatty acid binds to one of the O’s from the OH groups on each Carbon on glycerol. The result is a triglyceride (or neutral fat) and 3 water molecules.
Triglycerides are composed of a glycerol molecule attached to three fatty acids by a dehydration synthesis reaction.
  • Explain why fatty acids with hydrocarbon chains that contain only single bonds are called saturated fatty acids.

Phospholipids and biological membranes

Triglycerides are classified as simple lipids because they are formed from just two types of compounds: glycerol and fatty acids . In contrast, complex lipids contain at least one additional component, for example, a phosphate group ( phospholipid s ) or a carbohydrate moiety ( glycolipid s ). [link] depicts a typical phospholipid composed of two fatty acids linked to glycerol (a diglyceride ). The two fatty acid carbon chains may be both saturated, both unsaturated, or one of each. Instead of another fatty acid molecule (as for triglycerides), the third binding position on the glycerol molecule is occupied by a modified phosphate group.

Questions & Answers

characteristic of Gram negative bacteria
jane Reply
Characteristics of Gram Negative Bacteria As with Gram positive bacteria, Gram negative bacteria also contain the peptidoglycan polymer in their cell wall. While this polymer is thin (2 to 4 nanometers in thickness with just about 3 layers of peptidoglycan) in Gram negative bacteria, it's also com
Kaviya
it's also composed of long glycan strands that are cross-linked by peptide molecules. This composition serves a number of functions including protecting the bacterial cell from lysis
Kaviya
Good shot
Enoch
Thanks 😊
Kaviya
what was Hans Christian Gram's supported in the modern Microbiology?
Wilson Reply
what is microbial growth
Chisa Reply
The organism responsible for vulva ulcers
nyiter Reply
Why are vascular pathogen poorly communicable from person to person?
Aj Reply
Most vascular pathogens are poorly communicable from person to person because they need a medium to be communicated i,e a vector that would carry them from one person to other
Kaviya
what's the habit of protista
Afieahngwi Reply
They show both autotrophic and heterotrophic mechanisms...
Swetha
thanks
Afieahngwi
welcome...
Swetha
let me mention some water. Air .Food and so on
Gattiek Reply
causes of infectious diseases
Afieahngwi Reply
water.Air
Gattiek
infectious disease are caused by pathogenic micro organisms like bacteria ,fungi..
Swetha
What is pasteurization?
Wilson
are fungi prokaryote or eukaryotes?
Afieahngwi Reply
fungi are eukaryotes.
Swetha
All fungi are eukaryotes. Even micro fungi.
Lad
have..complex cellular organization and membrane bound nucleus ...and..also... having loops of DNA( like plasmids) as.bacteria
Swetha
what enzyme replaces rna nucleotides with dna nucleotides during replication?
Remi Reply
an enzyme called DNA ligase.
Jael
describe the acid fast staining procedure used in the diagnosis of tuberculosis
Salma Reply
bacterial morphology
lf_ Reply
what is the difference between biogenesis & abiogenesis
Mayuri Reply
biogenesis is when living comes out from other living things as a result of reproduction while a biogenesis is the process where living things comes out from non living things
Usman
living things come form other form living things is biogenesis. ....right?
Mayuri
what is mean by pasturation method?
Mayuri Reply
Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria and creates an extended shelf life for your milk. ... It's pretty simple—we take the milk from the cows, we rapidly heat it to a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, and then we cool it back down before packaging and shipping it to you
Kaviya
tell me about abiogenessis &biogenesis
Mayuri
discribe aristol spontaneous generation theory in brif
Mayuri Reply
The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) was one of the earliest recorded scholars to articulate the theory of spontaneous generation, the notion that life can arise from nonliving matter. Aristotle proposed that life arose from nonliving material if the material contained pneuma (“vital heat”).
Kaviya
thank you 😊
Mayuri
No mention dear 😊
Kaviya

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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