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  • A glycerol backbone at the core of triglycerides, consists of three carbon atoms.
  • Three fatty acids, long chains of hydrocarbons with a carboxyl group and a methyl group at opposite ends, extend from each of the carbons of the glycerol.

Triglycerides

This image shows the reaction for the formation of triglycerides.
Triglycerides are composed of glycerol attached to three fatty acids via dehydration synthesis. Notice that glycerol gives up a hydrogen atom, and the carboxyl groups on the fatty acids each give up a hydroxyl group.

Triglycerides form via dehydration synthesis. Glycerol gives up hydrogen atoms from its hydroxyl groups at each bond, and the carboxyl group on each fatty acid chain gives up a hydroxyl group. A total of three water molecules are thereby released.

Fatty acid chains that have no double carbon bonds anywhere along their length and therefore contain the maximum number of hydrogen atoms are called saturated fatty acids. These straight, rigid chains pack tightly together and are solid or semi-solid at room temperature ( [link] a ). Butter and lard are examples, as is the fat found on a steak or in your own body. In contrast, fatty acids with one double carbon bond are kinked at that bond ( [link] b ). These monounsaturated fatty acids are therefore unable to pack together tightly, and are liquid at room temperature. Polyunsaturated fatty acids contain two or more double carbon bonds, and are also liquid at room temperature. Plant oils such as olive oil typically contain both mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Fatty acid shapes

This diagram shows the chain structures of a saturated and an unsaturated fatty acid.
The level of saturation of a fatty acid affects its shape. (a) Saturated fatty acid chains are straight. (b) Unsaturated fatty acid chains are kinked.

Whereas a diet high in saturated fatty acids increases the risk of heart disease, a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids is thought to reduce the risk. This is especially true for the omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids found in cold-water fish such as salmon. These fatty acids have their first double carbon bond at the third hydrocarbon from the methyl group (referred to as the omega end of the molecule).

Finally, trans fatty acids found in some processed foods, including some stick and tub margarines, are thought to be even more harmful to the heart and blood vessels than saturated fatty acids. Trans fats are created from unsaturated fatty acids (such as corn oil) when chemically treated to produce partially hydrogenated fats.

As a group, triglycerides are a major fuel source for the body. When you are resting or asleep, a majority of the energy used to keep you alive is derived from triglycerides stored in your fat (adipose) tissues. Triglycerides also fuel long, slow physical activity such as gardening or hiking, and contribute a modest percentage of energy for vigorous physical activity. Dietary fat also assists the absorption and transport of the nonpolar fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Additionally, stored body fat protects and cushions the body’s bones and internal organs, and acts as insulation to retain body heat.

Fatty acids are also components of glycolipids, which are sugar-fat compounds found in the cell membrane. Lipoproteins are compounds in which the hydrophobic triglycerides are packaged in protein envelopes for transport in body fluids.

Questions & Answers

What is ELISA
POULAMI Reply
difference between apocrine sweat glands and merocrine sweat glands
Binkheir Reply
I believe the apocrine sweat gland uses a sac under the hair follicle and the merocrine sweat gland releases directly on to the surface of the skin
Mark
normal blood volume in our body
pankaj Reply
5Litres
Albert
Normal blood volume in adults is 6 litres
Kedha's
4.7 to 5ltr.. normal for adult
Clangbhelle
what are the advantages of the concave shape of red blood cells?
Amy Reply
This structure is VERY flexible. It can allow these cells to get into the most tiny places in our bodies. a VERY good design! The advantage of red blood cells' biconcave shape is that the surface area is increased to allow more haemoglobin to be stored in the cell.
Saafi
They can stack so that they can move to capillaries
Nejat
action of gluteus medius and minimus
Green Reply
Lateral rotation of the hip joint
Hertzo
Briefly explain location of ecg on a patient
Prince Reply
it is a machine that gives a graphical representation of heart beat
Nani
Briefly explain location of ecg leads on a patient?
Prince
in ecg we use electrical leads over the chest ,ancle and wrist
Nani
what is the anatomical and function difference between paravertebral and prevertebral ganglia ?
Rada Reply
types of tissue in human
Preety Reply
charactetistic Of cartilaginous tissue
Preety
what is theRecurrent infection?
pankaj Reply
what do you mean about recurrent infection
pankaj
Recurrent or persistent infection is a manifestation of primary immuno deficiency
Kedha's
weakens the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily
Kedha's
lysis of RBC
Abdirizack
What is barometric pressure
Kedha's Reply
what is the agglutination advantage
Gopal Reply
the functions of the liver
Nana Reply
it produces bile juice which is used to make the food smaller
Kedha's
it also plays an important role in conversion of amino acid into urea
Komal
it also has role in gluconeogenesis in which amino acids and lipids convert into glucose.
Komal
during fetal life it's a center for hemopoiesis (formation of blood cells)
Komal
it filters, or removes, harmful substances from the blood
Kedha's
It stores nutrients, such as vitamins and iron,for the body
Kedha's
what is the largest gland in human body
Shahid Reply
liver
rachna
correct
Said
correct
dominic
thyroid gland
Kedha's
thyroid is largest endocrine gland
Komal
describe microscopic structures of the kidney
Nana Reply
kidney is covered by fibrous capsule, consists of an outer cortex and inner medulla with medullary pyramids. The microscopic structure is seen as 1-2 millions of nephrons and collecting tubule.
Komal
identify the four major tissue types
Binkheir Reply
connective epithelial
Nana
two ramining
Binkheir
muscle nervous
Nana
epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous tissue
Mel

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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