10 Major Functions of Lipids - Biomolecules

Lipids are esters of long-chain fatty acids and alcohols. They are waxy or oily substances present in all living organisms. They are non-polar (hydrophobic) compounds, soluble in organic solvents (chloroform, benzene, ether etc.). Fatty acids have a long hydrocarbon chain with a terminal carboxylic acid group.

General formula: CH3 (CH2) n COOH where n is an even number

Even though lipids exhibit a variety of structures, they have certain common characters:
  • All lipids are formed of Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), and sometimes Oxygen (O).
  • Small amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sulfur are also present in some lipids.
  • They are insoluble in water but soluble in nonpolar solvents like benzene and chloroform
10 Major Functions of Lipids

Functions of Lipids

  1. It serves as a food reserve in both plants and animals.
  2. In animals, fat occurs as droplets (adipocyte),  and provides protection against low temperature,
  3. Plant oils are used as low cholesterol in fat.
  4. They act as chemical coordinators and also stimulate anabolism.
  5. Steroids are essential for growth and flowering in plants. Steroids also control sex expression.
  6. Cholesterol is an essential component of animal plasma membrane. Cholesterol produces bile salt.
  7. Fats can be converted to carbohydrates. Therefore, fats stored in oilseeds (e.g., groundnut, mustard, castor, sunfiower, cotton, coconut) not only provide energy but also raw materials for the growth of the embryo.
  8. Cholesterol forms vitamin D on exposure to UV rays
  9. Subcutaneous fat rounds off the body contours of animals and human beings. In animals, the tats produce a shock absorbing cushion around eyeballs, gonads, kidneys and other vital organs.
  10. Waxes form a protective layer over the animal fur. They protect the floating leaves of aquatic plants against wetting. In land plants, they reduce the rate of transpiration.
  11. Myelin sheath around nerve fibres takes part in insulation.

Post a Comment

We love to hear from you! Leave us a comment.

Previous Post Next Post