Lipids are comprised of fats and oils and contain the following elements: Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H) and Oxygen (O)
- Structure: A lipid is comprised of triglycerides or phospholipids.
Triglycerides consist of one molecule of glycerol linked to three fatty acid molecules. For phospholipids, one fatty acid is replaced by a phosphate
- Fats: are solid at room temperature (RT)
- Oils: liquids at RT - contain different types of fatty acids than fats
Role of lipids in living organisms
- Cell structure
- Phospholipids & lipoproteins are components of cell membranes
- Provide heat insulation
- Stored in the body as adipose tissue under skin (important in aquatic animals such as whales and seals
- Protect organs e.g. kidney, heart.
- Waterproofing e.g. oil on human skin (sebum) and birds’ feathers, the cuticles on leaves, seeds and fruits.
- Found as myelin on some nerves – increases speed at which messages are carried.
- Reserve energy source – has twice the energy value of carbohydrates.
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