What are Lipids?
Lipids are molecules having hydrocarbons and forms the building blocks of the structure and functions of living cells. For Example- waxes, fats, sterols, hormones, vitamins and many non-protein membranes of the cells. Biological functions of the lipids include signaling, storing energy and acting as the structural component of cell membranes. Also, it has applications in the cosmetic, food industries as well as in nanotechnology.
Lipids are also defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic. The amphiphilic nature of some of the lipids gives access to build structures such as multi lamellar and membranes in an aqueous environment. Lipids are sometimes used as a synonym for fats also as fats are a subgroup of lipids known as triglycerides. Lipids encompass molecules like fatty acids and their derivatives as well as some other sterol that contains metabolites.
Where do lipids come from?
Lipids are defined as molecules which can be easily extracted from plants and animals with the use of nonpolar solvents such as acetone, chloroform, and ether. Fats belong to this group as other phospholipids and steroids do for building the cell membrane components etc.
Lipids contain a functional group ester that is hydrolyzable in water and includes neutral waxes, fats, glycolipids, and phospholipids. Non-Hydrolyzable lipids need such functional groups having fat-soluble vitamins- A, D, E, K, and steroids. Fats and oils consist of triglycerides or triacylglycerols and contain glycerol and 3 fatty acids to build a triester. Hydrolysis of triacylglycerols obtains 3 fatty acids and a glycerol molecule.
Fatty acids are a long chain of carboxylic acids which contains 16 or more carbon atoms. These may or may not contain carbon-carbon double bonds. The total number of carbon atoms are always an even number and usually, they are unbranched. The most abundant fatty acid that we found in nature is Oleic acid.