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Phospholipids | Research Articles
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Phospholipids

A phospholipid is a type of lipid molecule that is the main component of the cell membrane. Lipids are molecules that include fats, waxes, and some vitamins, among others. Each phospholipid is made up of two fatty acids, a phosphate group, and a glycerol molecule. When many phospholipids line up, they form a double layer that is characteristic of all cell membranes. A phospholipid is made up of two fatty acid tails and a phosphate group head. Fatty acids are long chains that are mostly made up of hydrogen and carbon, while phosphate groups consist of a phosphorus molecule with four oxygen molecules attached. These two components of the phospholipid are connected via a third molecule, glycerol. Phospholipids are able to form cell membranes because the phosphate group head is hydrophilic (water-loving) while the fatty acid tails are hydrophobic (water-hating). They automatically arrange themselves in a certain pattern in water because of these properties, and form cell membranes.