Waxes Structure | Functions | Biochemistry | Examples

What are Waxes in Biology?

Waxes Lipids:

Waxes Definition: Waxes are the organic compounds composed of lipophilic compounds and malleable solids. Waxes form the protective coating by the mixture of long-chain apolar lipids. In plants, wax forms a protective coat of cutin on plants, leaves, and fruits. Waxes Structure Defined Below.

Waxes Structure

Where does Waxes Come from:

There are two types of waxes:

  1. True waxes
  2. Other waxes

True Waxes.

The true waxes are simple lipids which are the ester of fatty acids with acetyl alcohol or other high molecular weight alcohols. Fatty acids such as Myristic and Palmitic are combined with alcohols that contain from 12 to 30 carbon atoms.

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Naturally Occurring Waxes:

Common naturally occurring waxes are beeswax of the honeycomb. Lanolin derived from wool is widely used as a base for many ointments and creams.spermacetic derived from the sperm whale is used In cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and in the manufacture of candles. Because waxes can be hydrolyzed by lipase, therefore they are of no nutritional importance.

Other Waxes: 

Waxes which are not of true include ester of cholesterol, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Waxes Chemical Formula:

The chemical formula of  Paraffin waxes is C20H42. Its Melting point is 47 to 65-degree centigrade. While the general formula of Waxes is given below in figure:

Waxes Structure

Waxes Biochemistry 

Different waxes have the different arrangement of alcohols and fatty acids esters. Due to this its nature and  biochemistry will also vary:

Carnauba Wax  Biochemistry :

Alcohol- CH3(CH2)28CH2-OH, Fatty Acid- CH3(CH2)24COOH

Waxes Structure

Bio-Chemistry of Beeswax:

Alcohol- CH3(CH2)28CH2-OH, Fatty Acid- CH3(CH2)14COOH

Spermaceti Wax biochemistry is given below :

Alcohol- CH3(CH2)14CH2-OH, Fatty Acid- CH3(CH2)14COOH

Waxes Structure

Waxes Structure 

waxes have the following structure :

Waxes Structure

Examples of Waxes Structure

Here are some examples of Waxes given below:

Waxes Structure

Waxes Lipids Functions:

  1. Waxes are composed of long-chain Alcohol and Fatty Acids esters. Mostly waxes may consist of 12-32 Alcohol Carbon Atoms.
  2. Waxes Lipids Functions
  3. Waxes are hydrophobic in nature which make the water body water repellent.
  4. Waxes are usually present of plants leave the surface, feathers of the birds and in the insects from the protective layer.
  5. Waxes make the surface shiny which prevents the extra loss of water from the body.
  6. These are basically energy-storage substances in various aquatic planktonic animals and plants.
  7. Plankton ostensibly practices the biosynthesis of waxes to regulate their floating density in the ocean.
  8. In the deep seas, waxes are the major source of oil or petroleum that originate from dead planktons after many decades.
  9. In Whales, fishes large quantities of waxes are present which act as the insulator.