noun, plural: glycerolipids
A type of lipid made up of a glycerol linked esterically to a fatty acid
A glycerolipid is comprised of a glycerol backbone and at least one fatty acid. Glycerolipids act as energy storage. Thus, much of the storage fat in animal’s adipose tissues is comprised mainly of glycerolipids.
One of the most commonly known glycerolipids is the triglyceride (also referred to as triacylglycerol). The triglyceride is an energy-rich compound consisting of a glycerol and three fatty acids (thus, the name). The three hydroxyl groups of glycerol in triglyceride are all esterified. The triglyceride is a major component of animal and plant oils and fats. In plants, they are typically found in plant cell membrane where the fatty acids are mostly unsaturated. In animals, the fatty acid component is largely saturated.
Other examples of glycerolipids are monoglycerides and diglycerides. Monoglyceride, as the name implies, has a glycerol linked to only one fatty acid. The two constituents are linked together via an ester bond. Diglyceride is a glycerolipid comprised of a glycerol and two fatty acid chains that are joined also by ester linkages.
Glyceroglycolipids (also referred to as glycerolipid glycans) may be considered as a subclass of glycerolipids. A glyceroglycolipid is made up of a glycerol backbone and at least one fatty acid. It is often found as a component of biological membranes with photosynthetic functions (e.g. chloroplasts). Galactolipids and sulfolipids are examples of glyceroglycolipids.