The 2 Components of a Triglyceride structure

The Two Components of Triglyceride Structure

To find out about the triglyceride structure, you need to know that a triglyceride, also called “triacylglycerol” or TAG, is a chemical compound formed from one molecule of glycerol along with three fatty acids.

The general triglyceride structure of triglycerides is given below:

Glycerol

Glycerol is alcohol and contains three –OH hydroxyl groups. Glycerol can be combined with varying numbers of fatty acids, three (triglycerides), two (diglycerides) and one (monoglycerides).

Triglycerides are type of fats or lipids and form a major source of stored fats within cells.

Triglycerides are the main constituents of animals and vegetable fats and have low density than water thus float on water. At normal temperatures these fats are solid called “fats”, whereas in liquid form they are called “oils”.

Fatty Acids

Fatty acids present within triglycerides can be of varying sizes, but16, 18, 20 carbons are the most commonly present in triglyceride molecule.

The chemical triglyceride structure formula is RCOO-CH2CH (-OOCR') CH2-OOCR, where R, R', and R" represents the alkyl chains.

There is difference in number of fatty acids in animals and bacteria’s triglyceride structure. In animals, the fatty acids are found in even numbers whereas in bacteria the number is odd.

As shown in above triglyceride structure figure, the three fatty acids are attached to each OH group, and bonds between each fatty acid and glycerol are ester bonds.

The molecule is broken down by the action of an enzyme called “pancreatic lipase”. This enzyme is released by the pancreas and acts by hydrolyzing the bond between fatty acids and glycerol and thus releases the fatty acids to be used in body.

The breakage of triglyceride molecule is necessary as body cannot use triglycerides as such in its original form. The fatty acids, monoglycerides (one glycerol, one fatty acid) and some diglycerides, all form after breakage of triglycerides, can be absorbed by the duodenum and utilized in body.

Triglycerides are the main constituents of vegetable oils and animal fats and have lower densities than water (this is why they float on water), and at different temperatures they may be solid or liquid. When solid, they are called "fats" or "butters" and when liquid they are called "oils".

Conclusion

Triglyceride is a chemical compound formed from one molecule of glycerol along with three fatty acids. Glycerol can be combined with varying numbers of fatty acids, thus gives large number of combinations and types of glycerides.

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Apart from triglyceride structure, you can click here to find out what are triglycerides, effects of high & low triglycerides on health etc.



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