General Features Of Lipids Important For Their Analysis

Characterization of a lipid requires separation from other components and detection based on chemical and physical features.

Most of the lipid classes cited as major components in different tissues (Table 1.1) contain ester-ified fatty acids. They are thus termed acyl lipids. This is important during analysis for several reasons:

(1) The nature of the fatty acids determines much of the physical and biological properties of the lipid and, therefore, it is of importance to analyse their properties.

(2) The type of fatty acid influences the stability of the sample.

(3) Because mixtures of fatty acids are found in any given lipid class, the latter contains a number of molecular species. Thus, for example, when one refers to the triacylglycerol content of a certain tissue one should say triacylglycerols to show that a mixture of molecular species is present.

Table 1.1 Major components of typical lipid extracts from different tissues

Erythrocytes

Liver

Leaves

Cyanobacteria

Gram negative bacteria

Phosphoglycerides

Phosphoglycerides

Phosphoglycerides

Phosphoglycerides

Phosphoglycerides

Sphingolipids

Sphingolipids

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