Organic Chemistry: What Is a Lipid Molecule?
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How polar phospholipids spontaneously arrange in liquid.
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Phospholipids have a hydrophobic, “water hating,” hydrocarbon tails and hydrophilic, "water loving" phosphate groups on the end, so they are soluble in both water and oil.
Our cell membranes are made mostly of phospholipids arranged in a double layer with the tails from both layers facing inward and the heads facing outward, called the lipid bilayer.
These lipids are esters of alcohol, insoluble in water and difficult to hydrolyze, or break down.
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Cholesterol is a type of steroid, with a central core consisting of four fused rings, a characteristic shared by all steroids. Our bodies make about 2g of cholesterol per day, about 85% of blood cholesterol, while only about 15% comes from dietary sources.
Wax forms protective and waterproof layers on some plants, bacteria, animal fur and integuments of insects.
Chemical structure of wax cetyl palmitate.
Sources and Helpful Organic Chemistry Resources
- Bauman, R. (2014) Microbiology with Diseases by Taxonomy, 4th ed., Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
- Park Talaro, K. (2008) Foundations in Microbiology, McGraw-Hill.
Cholesterol is precursor to sex hormones, such as testosterone and progesterone, and Vitamin D. Our cell membranes contain a lot of cholesterol which helps to keep the membrane flexible and fluid even when our cells are exposed to cooler temperatures.
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