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A broad group of consisting of biomolecules that are soluble in non-polar solvents. Most of these molecules have huge hydrocarbon chains (linear or cyclic). Examples include glycerides (glyceryl esters), isoprenoids and steroids.

General Introduction

According to the IUPAC Gold book, "lipids" is a:

A loosely defined term for substances of biological origin that are soluble in nonpolar solvents. They consist of saponifiable lipids, such as glycerides (fats and oils) and phospholipids, as well as nonsaponifiable lipids, principally steroids.

Lipids are essential biomolecules required for both maintenance of cellular structure and for signalling.

Glyceride-phospholipids make up the plasma membrane of eukaryotes and most prokaryotes with an exception of archaea which use isoprenoid lipids.

Steroids have functional roles as hormones as in the case of cortisone, testosterone etc as well as structural roles as in the case of cholesterol, that provides rigidity to plasma membranes and also forms an essential component of lipid rafts.

Fatty acid derivatives such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes play crucial role in the process of inflammation.

There are several secondary metabolites of plant origin (mostly of isoprenoid type), that may be of commercial/therapeutic importance. Vitamins such as vitamin-A (retinol) and vitamin-E (tocopherol) are also isoprenoid lipids.

Questions that should have this tag

Questions that should have this tag include:

  • Questions on biochemistry of lipids
  • Questions on laboratory analysis of lipids