Some Interesting Lipids

The Wonderful World of Lipids

The figure below explains why free fatty acids cannot build up to a high concentration in blood. Free fatty acids resemble detergents and therefore they can disrupt membranes of cells if they increase in blood.  In fact, this is what happens in Type 2 diabetes.

Palmitate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

In addition to triglycerides and phospholipids, there are other important structural lipids such as waxes.  Below are two important examples of waxes that each have the common fatty acid, palmitic acid, as a component.  First is the main wax from spermaceti, which for several hundred years was the preferred oil for lamps, and therefore, spurred the expansion of whaling industry.  The second wax is triacontanyl palmitate, the main wax in beeswax.  Note the very long 30-carbon chain that gives beeswax it solid like nature.

Cetyl palmitate and beeswax

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