Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (2023)

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (1)

45

Building Blocks of Lipids: Living organisms are made of biomolecules (biological molecules) that are essential for performing physiological functions: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. These molecules vary in size, structure, properties, and functions in and among cells.

Generally, their structures dictate their biological function. If by any chance the structure is disrupted or distorted, this could result in the impairment of the biomolecule itself.

Among these four biomolecules, lipids are considered to be unique as they are not defined by the presence of overall structural properties. Lipids are known for their hydrophobic or “water-fearing” properties that are due to the characteristics of their building blocks: glycerol and fatty acids.

In this article, explore the building blocks of lipids as well as how they are grouped together in order to form a lipid. Let’s take a closer look.

Table of Contents

  • Building Blocks of Lipids
  • Structure of A Lipid
    • 1. Glycerol
    • 2. Fatty Acids
  • Examples of Lipids
    • A. Cholesterol
    • B. Triglycerides
    • Functions of Lipids
  • References

Building Blocks of Lipids

Structure of A Lipid

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (2)

Like any other biomolecules, lipids are made up of building block monomers. In biochemistry, a monomer refers to a single molecule that when chemically combined with other monomers (can be of the same type or other molecules) can form larger and different molecules. Basically, monomers are just composed of simple elements.

  • Unlike the three biomolecules, lipids are not made up of “truepolymers because of their relatively smaller size and non-repeating monomers.
  • As alluded to earlier, a lipid molecule is composed of a glycerol and (three) fatty acid sub-units. They are described in the following.
(Video) Lipids

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (3)

1. Glycerol

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (4)

Considered to be a naturally occurring three-carbon alcohol (contains one carbon molecule that is bonded to three OH groups), glycerol is a molecule that serves as the structural backbone of a lipid. Aside from that, glycerol is also used to store energy.

  • Because of its OH group, glycerol can be considered as a “polyol “, a type of alcohol that contains more than one OH group. Because of this property, glycerol can be readily dissolved in water.
  • Additionally, the presence of these OH groups contributes to the hygroscopic property of glycerol. In other words, it can readily take up and retain water molecules.
  • In layman’s term, glycerol is also known as glycerin or glycerine. In industries, glycerol is used as sweeteners and humectants.

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (5)

2. Fatty Acids

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (6)

Fatty acids are chains of hydrocarbons that have various lengths and levels of unsaturation that end with carboxylic acid functional groups. The biochemical name of a fatty acid originates from the name of its parent hydrocarbon, with the final “e” being changed to “oic” and adding “acid” in the end.

(Video) Biomolecules (Updated)

  • In biological systems, most fatty acids have an even number of carbon atoms, usually ranging from 14 to 24, with 16 and 18 carbon atoms being the most common. In animals, the hydrocarbon chain is always unbranched.
  • The biochemical properties of fatty acids and their lipid derivatives are dependent mostly on the length of their chains and levels of saturation. As compared with their saturated counterparts (of the same length), unsaturated fatty acids tend to have lower melting points.
  • In addition to this, the length of the chain also affects melting point because shorter chain lengths somehow affect the level of saturation and contribute to their fluidity.
  • As compared with glycerol, fatty acids, being “fats” supply a relatively higher amount of energy per gram and have more biological roles than glycerol.
Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (7)

So how are these molecules combined and linked to form a lipid? The OH group found in the glycerol molecule and the carboxyl group of the fatty acids are covalently linked via an ester linkage. dehydration synthesis is needed in order to create this.

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (8)

Examples of Lipids

There are actually quite a number of examples of lipids in biological systems. Below you can find the two most common and naturally occurring ones: cholesterol and triglycerides.

A. Cholesterol

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (9)

With a molecular formula of C27H45OH, you can see that the lipid derivative cholesterol is made up of three parts: a hydrocarbon tail, a hydroxyl group, and four hydrocarbon rings. Because of these structures (having fat soluble and water soluble regions, cholesterol is considered to be an amphipathic molecule.

  • In living organisms, cholesterol serves as an important component of the cell membranes that enable the body to biochemically absorb fats and other fat derivatives like vitamins. Aside from that, cholesterol is used to synthesize vitamin D and hormones (i.e. cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen).
  • While the body can naturally synthesize its own sources of cholesterol, it still needs to obtain it from other sources like food. Both synthesized and dietary cholesterol is transported in the body using lipoprotein molecules.
  • Cholesterol is a type of lipid derivative that is based on steroids.

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (10)

B. Triglycerides

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (11)

On the other hand, triglycerides are lipid derivatives that are derived mostly from glycerol. And as their name suggests, they are composed of three molecules of glycerols. Because most lipids are insoluble in water, they needed to be transported along with other molecules like proteins during circulation in the body.

  • In animals, triglycerides are synthesized in the intestines and liver from fatty acid units. Contained in the fat cells, triglycerides are broken down into smaller units to provide the body with energy.
  • To avoid toxicity and other harms, fatty acids are transported as triglycerides, and molecules like lipoproteins play a huge role in this process (i.e., transporting lipids to the peripheral tissues from the liver and back).

Aside from those above two, other examples of lipid derivatives include vitamins (those fat solubles one such as vitamins A, D, E, and K), and waxes. Fats, both the saturated (with single bonds) and unsaturated (with double bonds) ones, are also considered as lipid derivatives.

(Video) Lipids - Structure Of Lipids - Structure Of Fats - Triglycerides, Phospholipids, Prostaglandins

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (12)

Functions of Lipids

Being nonpolar and hydrophobic as they are, lipids serve as strategic components of the plasma membrane and other cellular constituents like the nuclear membrane and envelope, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi body, lysosomes, and vesicles.

  • Interestingly, the composition of these organelles mentioned above varies significantly, therefore suggesting that different types of lipids are needed for various biological functions.
  • Like carbohydrates, lipids are also used for the storage of energy. However, the former is only used for immediate purposes while the latter serve for the long term.
  • Furthermore, lipids also serve important roles in maintaining the structural integrity of organisms as well as exhibiting functions during cell signaling.

While a lot of people use the term “fats” for lipids interchangeably, it is important to note that the former is just actually a subgroup of the latter. Because of this notion, lipids are given the idea of having a negative role in health.

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (13)

Despite their functions as mentioned earlier and biological importance, lipids have not been well researched as compared with the remaining biomolecules. The reason behind this is pretty simple: scientists and researchers think that fats are too complicated to work with (their nature and physiology), and the apparent lack of techniques in order to observe and visualize the levels of lipids.

Nevertheless, the recent advances and discoveries about the identification, structural properties, and biophysics of lipids suggest that this field of study has a lot more to show, thus encouraging broader exploration of these molecules.

Building Blocks of Lipids | Structure,Function,Examples of Lipids (14)

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago

BioExplorer.net. (2022, August 27). Explore Building Blocks of Lipids, Structure, Functions & Examples of Lipids. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/building-blocks-of-lipids.html/.

BioExplorer.net. "Explore Building Blocks of Lipids, Structure, Functions & Examples of Lipids" Bio Explorer, 27 August 2022, https://www.bioexplorer.net/building-blocks-of-lipids.html/.

BioExplorer.net. "Explore Building Blocks of Lipids, Structure, Functions & Examples of Lipids" Bio Explorer, August 27 2022. https://www.bioexplorer.net/building-blocks-of-lipids.html/.

(Video) Lipids - Fatty Acids, Triglycerides, Phospholipids, Terpenes, Waxes, Eicosanoids

References

  • Biomolecules – Accessed November 28, 2017. PDF
  • “Structure and Function of Lipids – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com”. Accessed November 28, 2017. Link.
  • “Fatty Acids Are Key Constituents of Lipids – Biochemistry – NCBI Bookshelf”. Accessed November 28, 2017. Link.
  • “Overview of Cholesterol and Lipid Disorders – Hormonal and Metabolic Disorders – MSD Manual Consumer Version”. Accessed November 28, 2017. Link.

45

45

(Video) Building Block of Life

FAQs

What are the building blocks and examples of lipids? ›

Glycerol and fatty acids are the basic building blocks of fats (lipids). Fats are the product of the esterification of the trivalent alcohol glycerol with fatty acids of different lengths (between 12 and 20 carbon atoms). Two important representatives of the lipids are triglyceride (90% of fats) and cholesterol.

What are the building blocks and functions of lipids? ›

The building blocks of lipids are one glycerol molecule and at least one fatty acid, with a maximum of three fatty acids. Glycerol is a sugar alcohol with three OH groups. It acts as a backbone for fatty acids to bond. Fatty acids are made up of a long hydrocarbon with carboxyl group, which is represented as COOH.

What is the function of lipids examples? ›

A lipid is any of various organic compounds that are insoluble in water. They include fats, waxes, oils, hormones, and certain components of membranes and function as energy-storage molecules and chemical messengers.

What are examples of lipids? ›

Examples of lipids include fats, oils, waxes, certain vitamins (such as A, D, E and K), hormones and most of the cell membrane that is not made up of protein. Lipids are not soluble in water as they are non-polar, but are thus soluble in non-polar solvents such as chloroform.

What are the 4 types of lipids and their functions? ›

Major types include fats and oils, waxes, phospholipids, and steroids. Fats are a stored form of energy and are also known as triacylglycerols or triglycerides. Fats are made up of fatty acids and either glycerol or sphingosine.

What are the 3 functions of lipids? ›

Lipids perform three primary biological functions within the body: they serve as structural components of cell membranes, function as energy storehouses, and function as important signaling molecules. The three main types of lipids are triacylglycerols (also called triglycerides), phospholipids, and sterols.

What are 4 types of lipids? ›

Lipids include fats, oils, waxes, phospholipids, and steroids.

What are the 3 types of lipids? ›

Lipids may consist of fatty acids alone, or they may contain other molecules as well. For example, some lipids contain alcohol or phosphate groups. Types of lipids include triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids. Each type has different functions in living things.

Which is not an example of lipids? ›

Cholesterol is a kind of blood fat and blood fats are termed lipids. Vitamin E is a primary lipid-soluble antioxidant. Glycine is not an example of lipid as it is an amino acid.

What are the two functions of lipids? ›

Two main functions of lipids in humans are:
  • Acts as a source of energy: The lipids in the human body act as a source of storing energy which can be utilized during fasting, or starvation.
  • Structural components: The lipid molecules are the important component of the cell membrane of cells.

Which of the following is an example of a lipid quizlet? ›

What are the FOUR types of lipids? Triglycerides, phospholipids, waxes, and steroids.

Which is not a function of lipids? ›

Think about butter or oil, and lipids also are responsible for making hormones, but lipids are not responsible for building muscles. The lipids do not provide the building blocks for muscle. That is the job of a protein.

What are the 10 lipids? ›

Table of Contents
  • Lipid: Type # 1. Neutral or True Fats:
  • Lipid: Type # 2. Waxes:
  • Lipid: Type # 3. Cutin:
  • Lipid: Type # 4. Suberin:
  • Lipid: Type # 5. Phospholipids (Common Membrane Lipids):
  • Lipid: Type # 6. Sphingolipids:
  • Lipid: Type # 7. Lipoproteins:
  • Lipid: Type # 8. Terpenes:

Is an example of simple lipids? ›

The main simple lipids are triglycerides (also known as triacylglycerols), steryl esters, and wax esters.

What are the examples of lipids found at home? ›

Some examples of lipids include butter, ghee, vegetable oil, cheese, cholesterol and other steroids, waxes, phospholipids, and fat-soluble vitamins.

What are the 6 classes of lipids? ›

They are a diverse group of molecules that are mostly nonpolar and contain hydrocarbon chains and/or rings. Lipids can be classified as fatty acyls, glycerides, phospholipids, sphingolipids, steroids, prenol lipids, glycolipids, and polyketides.

What are the sources of lipids? ›

Foods With Lipids
  • Beef Fat. Beef fat, also known as beef tallow, is almost entirely made of saturated fats. ...
  • Poultry Skin. Chicken and turkey are generally quite healthy. ...
  • Heavy Cream. When fresh milk is processed, a lot of the fat is removed and combined into heavy cream. ...
  • Butter. ...
  • Soft Cheese. ...
  • Bacon.
Oct 22, 2020

What are lipids made of? ›

Lipids are an essential component of the cell membrane. The structure is typically made of a glycerol backbone, 2 fatty acid tails (hydrophobic), and a phosphate group (hydrophilic). As such, phospholipids are amphipathic.

What are 3 functions of proteins? ›

Protein has many roles in your body. It helps repair and build your body's tissues, allows metabolic reactions to take place and coordinates bodily functions. In addition to providing your body with a structural framework, proteins also maintain proper pH and fluid balance.

Which of the following are functions of lipids choose three correct answers? ›

Lipids provide energy, protection and insulation for the organs in the body. Lipids are also an important part of cell membranes.

What are the functions of lipids in plants? ›

Plant lipids are diverse and essential for cells. They are essential for the integrity of cells and organelles by acting as a hydrophobic barrier for the membrane. In addition, lipids are stored in the form of chemical energy in seeds. Furthermore, they act as a signal molecule to regulate cell metabolism [1,2].

What is the building block of a lipid quizlet? ›

For example, the building block of carbohydrates is sugar, the building block of lipids is fatty acids, the building block of protein is amino acids and the building block of nucleic acids is the nucleotide.

What are the building blocks of fats? ›

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in our bodies and in the food we eat. During digestion, the body breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed into the blood. Fatty acid molecules are usually joined together in groups of three, forming a molecule called a triglyceride.

What are building blocks of proteins? ›

The building blocks of proteins are amino acids, which are small organic molecules that consist of an alpha (central) carbon atom linked to an amino group, a carboxyl group, a hydrogen atom, and a variable component called a side chain (see below).

What is unique about building blocks for lipids? ›

Among these four biomolecules, lipids are considered to be unique as they are not defined by the presence of overall structural properties. Lipids are known for their hydrophobic or “water-fearing” properties that are due to the characteristics of their building blocks: glycerol and fatty acids.

What are building blocks of neutral lipids called? ›

Answer and Explanation: The building blocks of triglycerides (neutral fats) are fatty acids and glycerol.

What are the building blocks of organic molecules called? ›

Most macromolecules are made from single subunits, or building blocks, called monomers. The monomers combine with each other using covalent bonds to form larger molecules known as polymers.

What are the building blocks of all organic molecules? ›

Their building block is the amino acid. Proteins are made of amino acids linked by a peptide bond. The fourth class of organic molecules is the nucleic acids. This class involves the genetic materials, DNA and RNA.

What are lipids made of? ›

Lipids are an essential component of the cell membrane. The structure is typically made of a glycerol backbone, 2 fatty acid tails (hydrophobic), and a phosphate group (hydrophilic). As such, phospholipids are amphipathic.

Which of the following is not a function of lipids? ›

(d) Storing genetic information is not a function of lipids but rather nucleic acids.

Are lipids the building blocks of carbohydrates? ›

The building blocks of carbohydrates are Monosaccharides.

Was this answer helpful?

What are the examples of protein? ›

What is protein?
  • meat and fish.
  • eggs.
  • dairy products.
  • seeds and nuts.
  • legumes like beans and lentils.

What is protein and its function? ›

Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. They do most of the work in cells and are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs.

What is the building block of carbohydrates? ›

Monosaccharides. Monosaccharides include glucose, galactose and fructose - all commonly found in food. Monosaccharides are single sugar molecules that are the building blocks for all other sugars and carbohydrates.

Which of the following is the major function of lipids? ›

Storing Energy

Most of the energy required by the human body is provided by carbohydrates and lipids. As discussed in the Carbohydrates chapter, glucose is stored in the body as glycogen. While glycogen provides a ready source of energy, lipids primarily function as an energy reserve.

Are fatty acids the building block of lipids? ›

Fatty acids are important building blocks of lipids and they give a diversity and chemical specificity to the complex lipids found in natural fats and oils, comparable to that given by the amino acids to proteins.

What is lipid structure? ›

Lipids may be broadly defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic small molecules; the amphiphilic nature of some lipids allows them to form structures such as vesicles, multilamellar/unilamellar liposomes, or membranes in an aqueous environment.

Videos

1. Lipids Structure, types and Functions Part 1
(PoWer Of KnOwledge Academy)
2. video lesson - lipids
(James Comerford)
3. Lecture 12: Lipid Structure and Function - 10/13/20
(General Biochemistry: Semester I)
4. Lipid|| Definition of lipid || Function of lipid || classification of lipid #lipidprofile #lipids
(LAB TECH GURU KUNDAN SINGH)
5. Biomolecules
(Katie the Science Lady)
6. Functions of Lipids l Biochemistry l Body l Biological l Fats l Properties
(Hammad Naeem MBBS Lectures)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated: 01/18/2023

Views: 5257

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.