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What are the differences between triglycerides and phospholipids?

Triglycerides and phospholipids differ in their structure, function and location within the body.

Triglycerides are composed of three fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. They are primarily used for energy storage and are found in adipose tissue. Triglycerides are hydrophobic and insoluble in water due to their long hydrocarbon chains.

Phospholipids consist of two fatty acids, a glycerol molecule, a phosphate group and a polar head group. They are a major component of cell membranes and are responsible for the selective permeability of the membrane. Phospholipids are amphipathic, meaning they have both hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties.

Triglycerides are broken down by lipases to release fatty acids for energy production. Phospholipids play a crucial role in cell signalling and are involved in the formation of lipid rafts, which are important for cell membrane organisation.

In summary, triglycerides and phospholipids differ in their structure, function and location within the body. Triglycerides are primarily used for energy storage, while phospholipids are a major component of cell membranes and are responsible for selective permeability.

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