What are the building blocks of Lipids?


What are Lipids? What are the building blocks of lipids? Questions right? Indeed, a lot of medical students and enthusiast alike admit that understanding lipids has puzzled them for a while. In this article, we will try to break down the concepts around Lipids well enough so you can have a better understanding.

Lipids include a wide range of substances that have in common the feature of being insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents.

Fatty acids are important building blocks of lipids and impart a diversity and chemical specificity to the complex lipids found in natural fats and oils comparable to that which amino acids impart to proteins.

Because of their special characteristics and importance, fatty acids are usually considered as a separate group. However, fatty acids and lipids are increasingly recognized as playing an important role in physiology. Thus, fatty acids and lipids serve as membrane constituents and in providing energy and fuel storage, but specific lipids also function in regulating a wide range of cellular processes, including gene expression.

Living organisms are products of biomolecules (biological molecules) that are essential for playacting physiological functions: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids.

These molecules vary in size, structure, properties, and functions in and among cells. Among these four biomolecules, lipids are thought of to be distinctive as they’re not outlined by the presence of overall structural properties.

Lipids are famous for their hydrophobic or “water-fearing” properties that are thanks to the characteristics of their building blocks: alcohol and fatty acids.

The Building Blocks Of Lipids

The building blocks of lipids are a mix of fatty acids and alcohol. Fatty acids incorporates long hydrophobic hydrocarbons, and alcohol may be a monosaccharose.

The Building Blocks of Lipids



Glycerol may be a sugar alcohol compound C3H8O3. Fatty acids, the most building blocks of lipids, are chemical group acids with organic compound chains generally starting from ten to thirty carbons long. These organic compound chains are nonionic.

Fatty acids will be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids have all bonding positions occupied by hydrogens, whereas unsaturated fats have one or a lot of double bonds between carbons. Some common fatty acids embody lauric, palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acids.

Considered to be a present three-carbon alcohol (contains one carbon molecule that’s warranted to a few Ohio groups), glycerol may be a molecule that is the structural backbone of a supermolecule. except for that, alcohol is additionally accustomed to store energy.

• Because of its Ohio cluster, alcohol will be thought of as a “polyol “, a sort of alcohol that contains quite one Ohio cluster. due to this property, alcohol will be promptly dissolved in water.
• Additionally, the presence of those Ohio teams contributes to the absorptive property of alcohol. In alternative words, it will promptly take up and retain water molecules.
• In layman’s term, alcohol is additionally called glycerol or alcohol. In industries, alcohol is employed as sweeteners and humectants.


Fatty acids are chains of hydrocarbons that have varying lengths and levels of unsaturation that finish with acid practical teams. The organic chemistry name of a carboxylic acid originates from the name of its parent organic compound, with the ultimate “e” being modified to “oic” and adding “acid” within the finish.
• In biological systems, most fatty acids have a good variety of carbon atoms, sometimes starting from fourteen to twenty-four, with sixteen and eighteen carbon atoms being the foremost common. In animals, the organic compound chain is usually branchless.
• The organic chemistry properties of fatty acids and their supermolecule derivatives are dependent totally on the length of their chains and levels of saturation. As compared with their saturated counterparts (of identical length), unsaturated fatty acids tend to own lower melting points.
• In addition to the present, the length of the chain additionally have an effect on the temperature as a result of shorter chain lengths somehow affect the amount of saturation and contribute to their runniness.
• As compared with alcohol, fatty acids, being “fats” provide a comparatively higher quantity of energy per gram and have a lot of biological roles than alcohol.


Lipid Sensing and Lipid Sensors

Interesting new discoveries have been made in the field of lipid sensing. Besnard and colleagues reported that the membrane protein CD36 functions as an oral sensor for long-chain fatty acids (Passily-Degrace et al., 2009). Taste cells express CD36, which interacts with unsaturated fatty acids, leading to increased pancreatic secretions, indicating the presence of inter-organ signalling to prepare for digestion of increased amounts of dietary fat. In addition, as mentioned above, there is now clear evidence that the body is able to detect the number of lipids stored in adipocytes (Dugail and Hajduch, 2007).


Transport of fatty acids and lipids

The hydrophobic nature of (long-chain) fatty acids and lipids dictates special requirements for their transport in aqueous solutions. In plasma, fatty acids are avidly bound by albumin, whereas lipids are transported in lipoproteins such as chylomicrons and ultra-low density lipoproteins (VLDL). Regarding the mechanism of cellular uptake of fatty acids, it has been shown that the lipid bilayer of the plasma membrane is not a barrier to fatty acids (Hamilton, 2007).

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