Phospholipid is a general term that includes all lipids containing phosphorus. However, it is a term often mistakenly equated with phosphoglycerides, the most common of the phospholipids. The first phospholipid identified as such in biological tissues was lecithin, or phosphatidylcholine, in the egg yolk, by Theodore Nicolas Gobley, a French chemist and pharmacist, in 1847.
Phospholipids are the major constituents of cell membranes and are vital to the normal function of every cell and organ. They maintain cell structure and function and have regulatory activities within the membranes and outside the cell.
For instance, they serve as second messengers in cell signaling, an essential process in regulating cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, metabolism, nutrient uptake, ion transport and even programmed cell death.
Phospholipids act as emulsifiers and facilitate the digestion and absorption of fatty acids, cholesterol and other lipophilic nutrients. They also have a role in the transport of lipids, not only in the transport of absorbed lipids from the gut into the hemolymph, but also the transport of lipids between tissues and organs.
Phospholipids are important precursors for a range of highly biologically active mediators of metabolism and physiology, including eicosanoids, diacylglycerol (DAG), inositol phosphates and platelet activating factors (PAFs).
Dietary phospholipids may serve as a source of choline, inositol, LC-PUFAs or even energy. For early stages of crustaceans, it has been suggested that phospholipids presented in the diet serve as a direct source of these nutrients. In fish feeds, phospholipids can account for 5 to 25 percent of the total lipids, depending on lipid content and formulation of the feed.
Source: GAA Advocate Read the full article.