Any of a heterogeneous group of flats and fatlike substances characterised by being water insoluble and being extractable by nonpolar (or fat) solvents such as alcohol, ether, chloroform, benzene, etc. All contain as a major constituent aliphatic hydrocarbons. The lipids, which are easily stored in the body, serve as a source of fuel, are an important constituent of cell structure and serve other biological functions. Lipids may be considered to include fatty acids, neutral fats, waxes and steroids. Compound lipids comprise the glycolipids, lipoproteins and phospholipids.
This entry appears with permission from the Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology
(11 Mar 2008)
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