Comprehensive discussion of the enormous literature on compositions of animal, plant and microbial tissues would be a daunting task, and it is only possible here to summarize briefly some of the more significant features of lipid composition, with some highly selective (and simplified) examples of relevant analyses. Further data are available for specific lipids in most of the web pages in this part of the website. One problem in comparing data from different sources is the method of presentation, which is often dependent on the nature of the analytical methods used. For example, it is easier technically to analyse the phospholipids and glycolipids following isolation as distinct groups, separately from the simple lipids. Often there is no attempt subsequently to integrate the data. To add to the confusion, results of analyses of simple lipids are often reported in terms of weight percent of each lipid class, since the data are acquired in this form, while the results for phospholipids are most frequently recorded as molar percent, especially when phosphorus analysis is used as the means of quantification. Many of the data listed below are from publications that may appear old, but the results from modern lipidomics analyses are often difficult to summarize in a simple tabular form.
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