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Fat Facts

Comparing the Structure and Function of Lipids


Author(s)

Ling Chen
Science Department
Borough of Manhattan Community College / City University of New York
lchen@bmcc.cuny.edu
Lalitha S. Jayant
Science Department
Borough of Manhattan Community College / City University of New York
ljayant@bmcc.cuny.edu

Abstract

It's Mother's Day and Dolly, a high school senior, is making a Mediterranean salad for her mom, who is a college chemistry major and who likes to take every opportunity to teach Dolly what she has learned in school. Today is no exception, as she guides Dolly through a chemistry lesson in the kitchen. The case compares and contrasts the structures of various fatty acids, saturated with unsaturated, monounsaturated with polyunsaturated, and cis-conformation with trans-conformation. The melting point differences of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids also are explained as are the structures and functions of triacylglycerol, phospholipid, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and omega-3 fatty acids. The case could be used in courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, biology, and food science.


Objectives

  • Review functional groups: alcohol, carboxylic acid, and ester.
  • Distinguish saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Differentiate cis and trans fatty acids.
  • Associate the structures of fatty acids to their melting points.
  • Identify omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Compare structures and functions of triacylglycerol and glycerophospholipid.
  • Compare structure and function differences of HDL and LDL cholesterols.

Keywords

Fat; lipids; fatty acid; triacylglycerol; glycerophospholipid; HDL cholesterol; LDL cholesterol; saturated; unsaturated; monounsaturated; polyunsaturated; cis-arrangement; trans-arrangment; omega-3; melting point

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Directed, Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Chemistry (General)  |   Organic Chemistry  |   Biochemistry  |   Nutrition  |   Biology (General)  |   Food Science / Technology  |   Public Health  |  


Date Posted

6/13/2011

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