Monday, July 30, 2012

word of the day: lecithin

The word of the day is lecithin:

Etymology:  < French lécithine (N. T. Gobley 1850, in Jrnl. de Pharm. et de Chim. XVII. 411), < Greek λέκιθος yolk of egg 
a. Any of a group of phospholipids found in plants and animals which are esters of a phosphatidic acid with choline and on hydrolysis yield choline, phosphoric acid, glycerol, and two fatty acids; also used as a generic name for these compounds. 
b. A commercial mixture of lecithin with other phosphatides and often other lipids obtained from natural products and used industrially, esp. that from soya beans. (OED)

i.e., phosphatidylcholine,




"Physical chemical studies of short-chain lecithin homologues.  I.  Influence of the chain length of the fatty acid ester and of electrolytes on the critical micelle concentration", Tausk et al., Biophysical Chemistry 1:175 (1973)

I guess these days we'd just say "phospholipids"?  Not quite sure what the significance of the choline part of the molecule is that it deserves its own term.

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