Lipids: Fats & Oils

by Kevin Ahern, PhD

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    Though the word 'fat' may strike terror in the hearts of many people, it's true that fats are important storage forms of energy, for animals and oils, in the case of plants. In the picture you can see on the right here, there's an obese mouse and a normal mouse. The obese mouse lacking a gene called leptin that has induced its obesity. Lipids are compounds that include the category of fats and oils and in this talk I'm going to talk about some of those components. These will include fatty acids, glycerol lipids, sphingolipids and polyketides. Now fatty acids are part of what makes a fat molecule and fatty acids are interesting lipids in the sense that they are amphiphilic. Amphiphilic molecules are molecules that have a portion of them that is very polar and can interact with water and another portion of them that's nonpolar and cannot interact with water. Fatty acids of course are used to make soaps. Fatty acids vary in their saturation, saturation referring to the amount of single bonds that it has. The less saturated a fat is, the more double bonds it contains. Fatty acids also vary in their length. Now we can see here the most common fatty acids that are found in cells. These are the saturated fatty acids and you can notice that they differ in size by 2 carbons each, the smallest being lauric acid with 12 carbons, myristic with 14, palmitic acid was 16, stearic with 18 and arachidic acid with 20 carbons. The reason that they differ in carbons by two is that the synthesis of fats occurs with the unit that adds two carbons every time. This is a depiction of the structure of one of the fatty acids here, stearic acid and you can see...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Lipids: Fats & Oils by Kevin Ahern, PhD is from the course Biochemistry: Basics. It contains the following chapters:

    • Fatty Acids - Overview
    • The Effect Unsaturation and Structure of Unsaturated Fatty Acids
    • Glycerolipids & Glycerophspholipids
    • Sphingolipids
    • Polyketides

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. ...are usually in the cis configuration in cells.
    2. ...include stearic and palmitic acid.
    3. ...increase the Tm of membranes they are found it.
    4. ...are more common in the membranes of people than that of fish.
    1. ...is lower for essential fatty acids in humans than for non-essential ones.
    2. ...increases as saturation decreases.
    3. ...decreases as saturation increases.
    4. ...increases as unsaturation increases.
    1. ...are liquid at room temperature.
    2. ...are sphingolipids that are liquid at room temperature.
    3. ...have fewer unsaturated fatty acids than fats.
    4. ...are the same as fats, except they contain sphingosine.
    1. ...contains glycerol and a phosphate.
    2. ...contains three fatty acids and glycerol.
    3. ...is a sphingolipid.
    4. ...does not contain fatty acids.
    1. ...is a component of the lipid bilayer.
    2. ...has a polar component that is negatively charged.
    3. ...is a sphingolipid.
    4. ...contains at least one sugar molecule.

    Author of lecture Lipids: Fats & Oils

     Kevin Ahern, PhD

    Kevin Ahern, PhD

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