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What are the building blocks of lipids?

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Quick Answer

The building blocks of lipids are a combination of fatty acids and glycerol. Fatty acids consist of long hydrophobic hydrocarbons, and glycerol is a triose.

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Glycerol is a simple sugar alcohol compound C3H8O3. Fatty acids, the main building blocks of lipids, are carboxylic acids with hydrocarbon chains typically ranging from 10 to 30 carbons in length. These hydrocarbon chains are nonpolar. Fatty acids can be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids have all bonding positions occupied by hydrogens, whereas unsaturated fats have one or more double bonds between carbons. Some common fatty acids include lauric, palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acids.

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