Lipids: what they are and how the biochemist deals with them



The word ‘lipid’ (in several different spellings) has long been used to denote a chemically heterogeneous group of substances, having in common the property of insolubility in water, but solubility in non-polar solvents such as chloroform, hydrocarbons or alcohols. Adequate coverage of the whole spectrum of such fat-soluble substances is beyond both the scope of so short a treatise and the capabilities of the authors. We shall therefore narrow our definition to include only those compounds which are esters of long chain fatty acids. Therefore large groups of biochemically interesting lipids such as the steroids and terpenes will not be covered, although our definition necessitates inclusion of, for example, the sterol esters.


Neutral Lipid Phosphatidyl Ethanolamine Enzyme Commission Retention Volume Phosphatidyl Inositol 
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Nomenclature, Stereochemistry

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    Ansell G. B., Dawson R. M. C., & Hawthorne J. N. (1973). Form and Function of Phospholipids. Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co. Amsterdam.Google Scholar

Separation Techniques

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    James A. T. & Morris L. J. (eds.) (1964). New Biochemical Separations. D. van Nostrand, London. There are several articles in this collection dealing with various aspects of lipid chromatography.Google Scholar
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    Christie W. W. (1973). Lipid Analysis. Pergamon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar

General Methodology

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    Lowenstein J. M. (1969) (Editor) Lipids, Methods in Enzymology, X IV. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© M. I. Gurr and A. T. James 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Research in DairyingReadingUK
  2. 2.Unilever Research LaboratoryBedfordUK

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