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In what ways do lipids differ from carbohydrates?

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A. In what ways do lipids differ from carbohydrates? Lipids are a group of substances, which include fats, oils and waxes. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, glycogen and cellulose. They are stored in plants as starches and in animals as glycogen. There are many differences between carbohydrates and lipids. For example lipids are insoluble in water whereas carbohydrates are soluble in water. This is because lipids contain non - polar hydrocarbon units whereas water contains polar hydrocarbon units. So when the two are mixed together there is no attraction between particles so no breakdown is possible. But lipids care soluble in non - polar solvents, e.g. alcohol. Carbohydrates have polar hydroxyl groups, so there are able to break down in water. ...read more.


Lipids are a useful energy source. They are also an energy store, since they are insoluble in water and have a high energy content it makes them ideal for storage. This energy store is used make up for heat, movement and energy lost by respiration. This energy store is also useful in plants (e.g. sunflower) because it is needed for seed dispersion. Lipids can also be used as insulation. Fat insulates the body because it conducts heat slowly. This type of energy store can be seen with polar bears, for example. They have a thick layer of fat beneath their skin for insulation. Some mammals, e.g. whales or penguins, don't have fur like polar bears do so they need extra insulation called 'blubber' because there is no fur there to trap air and to insulate further. ...read more.


This is important especially with plants because the waxy layer on the leaves prevent the plant from losing more water. C. Why do many organisms store lipids rather than carbohydrates? Carbohydrates supply energy more than store it. Many organisms store lipids rather than carbohydrates because lipids can act as insulation, an energy store and supply, and other features such as its use in cell membranes and their waterproof properties also make them extremely useful. Organisms also store carbohydrates, but mainly in cellulose in plants to form cell walls, and glucose is used as an energy store in respiration. Although carbohydrates are used in the body, lipids are stored in many organisms rather than carbohydrates. Other than the functions already mentioned, lipids are also needed to produce certain hormones. So lipids are stored due to their many functions in organisms. Amy Wilkinson ...read more.

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