Physical Properties of Lipids

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To put it another way, lipids are insoluble in water but soluble in at least one organic solvent. The other major classes of organic compounds nucleic acids , proteins, and carbohydrates are much more soluble in water than in an organic solvent.

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Lipids are hydrocarbons molecules consisting of hydrogen and oxygen , but they do not share a common molecule structure. Lipids that contain an ester functional group may be hydrolyzed in water.


Waxes, glycolipids, phospholipids, and neutral waxes are hydrolyzable lipids. Lipids that lack this functional group are considered nonhydrolyzable. The nonhydrolyzable lipids include steroids and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. There are many different types of lipids.

Lipids: Importance, Properties and Classification

Examples of common lipids include butter, vegetable oil, cholesterol and other steroids, waxes, phospholipids, and fat-soluble vitamins. The common characteristic of all of these compounds is that they are essentially insoluble in water, yet soluble in one or more organic solvents. Lipids are used by organisms for energy storage, as a signalling molecule e. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are isoprene-based lipids that are stored in the liver and fat.

Some types of lipids must be obtained from the diet, while others can be synthesized within the body. The types of lipids found in food include plant and animal triglycerides, sterols, and membrane phospholipids e. Other lipids may be produced from carbohydrates from the diet via a process called lipogenesis. Although there is no single common structure for lipids, the most commonly occurring class of lipids are triglycerides, which are fats and oils.

Trigylcerides have a glycerol backbone bonded to three fatty acids. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Chapter 2.

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Share Give access Share full text access. Share full text access. Please review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article. Summary The different lipid species vary significantly with respect to their chemical and physical properties, their absorption, metabolism, and physiological activities.

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Milk Lipids - Chemical Properties

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