Fatty Acids Are Stored as Esters of Glycerol

The Biochemistry of Movement > 9.7.3. Fats are also important fuels for cells > Fatty Acids Are Stored as Esters of Glycerol >

Explain that fatty acids are stored as esters of glycerol [triacylglycerol (TAGs)] and account for the hydrophobic nature of these esters

  • Fatty acids are stored as triacylglycerol, also known as triglycerides.
  • Triglycerides are esters of glycerol and are a main component of body fat and skin oils. They have a glycerol head with three fatty acid tails attached.
  • There are saturated (straight tails) and unsaturated (bent tails) triglycerides. Saturated fats have a higher melting point and tend to be solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats have a lower melting point and are usually liquid at room temperature.
  • Esters are considered hydrophobic because the long hydrophobic carbon chains dominate the behaviour of the molecule. This means they can be stored without water for long periods of time.