Hey everyone! Welcome back to my biochemistry blog! In today’s post I hope to help you guys in understanding the topic Lipids because it is a relatively short topic and not to difficult. Happy Learning!

Attached below are four structures of common classes of Lipids that you should know. I could not find for glycolipid but if you find it please attach it in a comment below. Thanks






Fats & Oils




States of Matter



Hydrocarbon Chains

Saturated hydrocarbon chains

Unsaturated hydrocarbon chains with at least 1 C=C


Waxes are made up of a fatty acid and a ling chain alcohol. They are important in fruits and vegetables for protection as well as appearance. 

Chain Length

The more carbons present the longer the fatty acid chains.

Functions & Properties of Fatty Acids

·         Energy source

·         Energy reserve

·         Body Insulation

·         Mechanical Insulation- protect organs

Functions & Properties of Fatty Acids

·         Supply essential fatty acids

·         Helps in the formation of cell membranes

·         Steroid hormones

·         Help carry fat soluble vitamins

·         Fullness after consumption

·         Flavor & taste

Saturated vs. Unsaturated Fats

Saturated Fats

Unsaturated Fats

No C=C double bonds

C=C double bonds

Long, straight chains

Kinks made by the double bonds preventing the molecule from packing together tightly

Solid at room temperature

Liquid at room temperature

Most animal fats

Plant & Fish fats

Some fatty acids to know

·         Stearic

·         Palmitic

·         Oleic

·         Linoleic

·         Linolenic

Delta Designation

Starting from the carboxyl end you count the number of carbons present and that you be the first number in the designation, then you put a colon and the second number is the number of double bonds present, following this number in brackets you put the delta sign and the location of the carbon bonds. 

Characteristics of Fatty Acids

·         As you increase the length of the hydrocarbon chain the melting point increases and the solubility decreases.

·         However this does not apply for stearic and linoleic acid who have the same number of carbon atoms but we observe different melting points. Why is this?

·         This is because the more double bonds present the lower the melting point.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are those that the body cannot synthesize on its own and must be acquired from our diet. Why?

This is because our bodies cannot make C=C double bonds before the 9th carbon from the methyl end.

Examples: Omega-6 linoleic acid, Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid

Omega Designation

Omega indicates the position of the first double bond from the methyl group.

The first point of unsaturation if next to the third C= omega 3 fatty acid

The first point of saturation if next to the sixth C= omega 6 fatty acid

Sources of Omega Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Flaxseed, soybean oil, walnuts, some leafy dark green vegetables, fatty fish

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Seeds, nuts, common vegetable oils, corn, safflower, cotton seed, sunflower seed, peanut, meat

Product of Hydrogenation & Trans Fats

Hydrogenation converts double bonds in oils to single bonds. This is used in the manufacture of margarine and other hydrogenated items.  Some trans isomers are formed by the process of partially hydrogenating other polyunsaturated fatty acids. Trans fats are very bad for the body. Trans fatty acids increase the formation of LDL cholesterol and hence the risk of heart disease.

PS. I tried to find more pictures to help explain but I was unsuccessful in doing that. I hope this was good enough for you guys to understand.

Well guys that ends my post today on Lipids. Look out for part two and my activity!


Featured Image:

YouTube: BiochemJM

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