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Lipids

  • John M. deMan
Part of the Food Science Text Series book series (FSTS)

Abstract

It has been difficult to provide a definition for the class of substances called lipids. Early definitions were mainly based on whether the substance is soluble in organic solvents like ether, benzene, or chloroform and is not solu-ble in water. In addition, definitions usually emphasize the central character of the fatty acids that is, whether lipids are actual or potential derivatives of fatty acids. Every def-inition proposed so far has some limitations. For example, monoglycerides of the shortchain fatty acids are undoubtedly lipids, but they would not fit the definition on the basis of solubility because they are more soluble in water than in organic solvents. Instead of try-ing to find a definition that would include all lipids, it is better to provide a scheme describing the lipids and their components, as Figure 2-1 shows. The basic components of lipids (also called derived lipids) are listed in the central column with the fatty acids occu-pying the prominent position. The left column lists the lipids known as phospholipids. The right column of the diagram includes the compounds most important from a quantitative standpoint in foods. These are mostly esters of fatty acids and glycerol. Up to 99 percent of the lipids in plant and animal material consist of such esters, known as fats and oils. Fats are solid at room temperature, and oils are liquid.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. deMan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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