noun, plural: very long chain fatty acids
A fatty acid consisting of 22 or more carbons in a hydrocarbon chain
A fatty acid is a long chain of hydrocarbon. The fatty acids may be classified as unsaturated (with at least one double bond between carbon atoms) or saturated (lacking a double bond). Another way of classifying free fatty acids is based on the length of the chain. A fatty acid with aliphatic tail of five or fewer carbons is called a short-chain fatty acid. Medium-chain fatty acid is one that has an aliphatic tail of 6 to 12 carbons. A long-chain fatty acid is one that has an aliphatic tail of 13 to 21 carbons. A fatty acid with an aliphatic tail of 22 or more carbons is called very long chain fatty acid.
A very long chain fatty acid is synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum. However, because of its length, this type of fatty acid is metabolized in the peroxisome rather than in the mitochondria just as the other types of fatty acids with relatively shorter chain.
When there is an excess of very long chain fatty acid in the peroxisome, the condition could lead to certain peroxisomal disorders, e.g. Zellweger syndrome.
Example of a very long chain fatty acid is behenic acid, lignoceric acid, and cerotic acid.