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Classification of Lipids

According to one scheme lipids are classified as simple lipids, compound (conjugated) lipids, and steroids.

(A) SIMPLE LIPIDS are esters of fatty acids with alcohols.

(1) Fats are esters of fatty acids with glycerol.

(2) Waxes are esters of high MW fatty acids with alcohols other than glycerol (true waxes) or with sterols (steryl esters).

(B) COMPUND LIPIDS on hydrolysis yield in addition to alcohol and fatty acids, other groups. They include:

(1) Glycerophospolipids. Phosphoric acid and usually two fatty acids esterified to glycerol, e.g. phosphatidic acids, lecithins and cephalins.
(b) Sphingophospholipids contain the amine alcohol 4-spingenine (sphingosine) instead of glycerol, in addition to a fatty acid, phosphoric acid and cholines.

(2) Glycolipids on hydrolysis yield shpingenine, a fatty acid and a monosaccharide sugar (usually galactose). Other glycolipids are cerebrosides and gangliosides.

(C) STEROIDS are included among lipids because of similar physical properties, although they have a different chemical structure  based on a 4-ring cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene nucleus.

(D) PROTAGLANDINS are derivatives of fatty acids and contain 20 carbon atoms.

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