Biomolecules: Lipids

Created By: Revant Ranjan and Rahul Das

Monomers of Lipids

Monomers are the building blocks of more complicated molecules known as Polymers. Fatty Acids are commonly seen monomers of Lipid Biomolecules. In most cases, there aren't 'distinct' monomers found in lipids, however the most evident building block of lipids are these fatty acids. The fatty acids seen below are long chains of mostly saturated carbon and hydrogen atoms, that attach themselves to a single molecule of glycerin.
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Polymer: Fatty Acid Chains (Triglycerol)

When the individual fatty acid monomers join with glycerin and other molecules, they form larger chains of fatty acids, known as triglycerol. The polymers of fatty acids do not have a 'specific name', because they are simply seen as longer chains of the original fatty acid monomers. The polymers of lipids form substances such as fats, oils, and waxes.

Functional Groups Always Found in Lipids

Since lipids contain mostly carbon and hydrogen atoms, there is not a large variety of functional groups. The functional group always found in Lipid Biomolecules is the Carboxyl Group (-COOH). 'Ionized' Carboxyl groups (-COO) are also commonly seen.

Function of Biomolecule

Some of the common functions of lipids are to store energy, and in some cases, lipids serve as important parts of biological membranes and waterproof coverings. Lipids can be seen in the fats found in animals, and also in oils that are found in plants, storing energy for these organisms.

How Structure Allows for Function

These molecules contain mostly hydrogen and carbon, and in most instances are highly saturated. This allows them to be less reactive to the introduction of H20 molecules. Also, since the fatty acid chains found in lipids have a multitude of weak hydrogen bonds that are packed together densely, it allows for effective use of the storage space for energy. By breaking apart all of these weak bonds, energy can be released.