Fats and lipids, Biology


  • Composed of C, H and O (fewer polar OH bonds than carbohydrates)
  • Can be used at energy storage, components of cell membranes, chemical signals & thermal insulation
    • Are a more efficient energy source then carbohydrates
  • 4 families à fats (triglycerides), phospholipids, steroids & waxes


                                                                                                        2331_fats and lipids.png

Triglycerides - An ester of 3 fatty acids + a glycerol molecule
Glycerol - a 3 carbon alcohol with 3 hydroxyl groups
Fatty Acid - a long-chain carboxylic acid

  • Fatty acids can be saturated of unsaturated and usually even numbered (16 or 18)
    • Saturated -> In animals                                                                                                                                                 Long straight chains and can rotate freely on the glycerol backbone

                      Can be packed tightly together à solids

               o  Unsaturated ->in plants

                        Cannot rotate freely and have kinks in their chain (due to 'cis' & 'trans' shapes from the double bond)

                        Cannot be packed closer together à liquids


  • Glycerol + 2 fatty acids
  • Has hydrophobic tails and a hydrophilic head


  • Hydrophobic molecules with 4 fused hydrocarbon rings (e.g. cholesterol, vitamin D, bile salts)


  • Lipids containing long chain fatty acids linked to alcohols or carbon rings
  • Hydrophobic


Posted Date: 8/20/2012 4:36:10 PM | Location : United States

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