Definition of lipids | Classification, importance, types & Properties |

Definition of lipids and Explanation.

Definition of lipids

“Definition of lipids” Lipids are naturally occurring organic compounds of plants and animals which are soluble in organic solvents and belong to a very heterogeneous group of substances.

The word ‘lipid’ is derived from the Greek word ‘lipas’ which mean fats. Lipids on hydrolysis give fatty acids and alcohols. Those lipids which give fatty acids and alcohol are referred to as simple lipids.
Types of lipids:
Simple lipids can be further divided into two classes:
  1. Fats and oils: These lipids give long-chain fatty acids and glycerol upon hydrolysis.
  2. Waxes: These lipids give long-chain fatty acid and long-chain alcohols upon hydrolysis.

Characteristics of lipids:

They are insoluble in water.
They are soluble in non-polar solvents like ether, chloroform and benzene.
They are Po-building blocks of:

  1. Fatty acids
  2. Glycerol
  3. Sterols
They can be utilized by living organisms.
Fats and oils are ‘major food factors’:
Fats and oils are the most important lipids found in nature. These are among the three major food factor required for the human body:

  1. Proteins
  2. Carbohydrates
  3. Fats and oils

Fats and oils are widely distributed in nature and have great nutritional values. They provide energy to the animal body for maintaining optimum body temperature.

Fats and oils as sources of other substances:
These edible fats and oils are also used as raw material for the manufacture of the following substances:
  1. Soaps
  2. Detergents
  3. Paints
  4. Varnishes
  5. Polishes
  6. Glycerols
  7. Lubricants
  8. Drying oils
  9. Cosmetics
  10. Printing inks
  11. Pharmaceuticals

Classification of lipids.

‘Classification of lipids’ into three types:

Classification of lipids

Simple lipids:
Simple lipids are the ester of fatty acids with glycerol.
The common fats and oils are the best example of simple lipid.
Compound lipids:
Compounds lipids contain radicals in addition to fatty acids and alcohols. They include:
  1. Glycerol phospholipids.
  2. Sphingolipids.
  3. Lipoproteins.
  4. Lipopolysaccharides.

Derived associated lipids:

These lipids are hydrolytic products of the above-mentioned compounds. Following are some important examples:

  1. Diglycerides fatty acids.
  2. Sterols.
  3. Vitamin D
  4. Terpenes

Importance of lipids.

There is some Importance of lipids.
  1. They are a good source of energy and make the food more palatable.
  2. They exert an insulating effect on the nervous tissues.
  3. They are good energy reservoirs in the body.
  4. Lipids are an integral part of cell protoplasm and cell membranes.
  5. Some lipids act as precursors of very important physiological compounds. For example; cholesterol is the precursor of steroid hormones.

Physical Properties of lipids.

  1. Oils and fats may be either liquids or non-crystalline solids at room temperature.
  2. Fats and oils in the pure states are colourless, odourless and tasteless.
  3. The colour of fat arises due to foreign substances. For example, the yellow colour of the butter is due to the presence of keratin.
  4. They are lighter than water.
  5. They are insoluble in water.
  6. They are readily soluble in organic solvents like diethyl ether, carbon disulphides, acetone, benzene, chloroform and carbon tetrachloride.
  7. They form emulsions when they are agitated with water in the presence of soap or another emulsifier.
  8. Fats and oils are poor conductor of heat and electricity and serve as an excellent insulator for the animal body.

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