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Functional Groups in Organic Chemistry


Acids and Bases

Above a critical concentration, long, straight chain carboxylate salts, called soaps, derived from fatty acids, form a colloidal dispersion of spherical aggregates in water with the hydrophilic carboxylate groups on the outside and the lipophilic hydrocarbon chains toward the interior.

If you have kids, be sure to tell them to mix the fatty acid salt with water and form a colloidal dispersion of spherical aggregates on their hands before dinner!

Soaps are formed by reacting a triglyceride with a strong Arrhenius base (hydroxide donor) to form carboxylate salts.



The Digestive System and Nutrition

Bile salts are polar, detergent derivatives of cholesterol released by the gall bladder. The function of bile salts is to solubilize dietary lipids, thus aiding in their absorption in the small intestine. Bile salts combine with phospholipids to break down fat globules. Emulsified droplets are then organized into micelles facilitating absorption.

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