MS 3.01 Triglyceride

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Triglycerides (aka triglycerols) make up 98.3% of cow milk fat; these molecules are made up of three joined fatty acid tails (University of Guelph). Triglycerides (aka triacylglycerols), comprising both saturated and unsaturated fats, are the main kind of fat in our diets. The triglyceride molecule looks a bit like a fork. At the base is the glycerine (aka glycerol). This substance on its own tastes sweet, and it forms the backbone of all triglycerides.

The diagram below shows one specific triglyceride with a saturated fat tail (top) an unsaturated fat tail (middle) and a polyunsaturated fat tail (bottom). In general, any batch of triglycerides will contain many statistical variants (e.g., two unsaturated tails or one unsaturated tail). We will return to this idea shortly.

A triglyceride molecule with a saturated fat tail (top), an unsaturated fat tail (middle) and a polyunsaturated fat tail (bottom).

In this video, Matt shows you the molecular structure of triglyceride

 

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