Fatty acid and amino acid are two different types of monomers that are very important to sustain life on Earth. Monomers react with other monomers or molecules to form large polymers. In chemistry, this process is known as polymerization.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Fatty Acid
3. What is Amino Acid
4. Similarities – Fatty Acid and Amino Acid
5. Fatty Acid vs Amino Acid in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Fatty Acid vs Amino Acid
What is Fatty Acid?
A fatty acid is the building block of fats in nature. In biochemistry, a fatty acid is defined as a carboxylic acid with an aliphatic chain. It can be either saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fatty acids have no C=C double bonds. On the other hand, unsaturated fatty acids have C=C double bonds. Most of the naturally occurring fatty acids have an unbranched chain of an even number of carbon atoms from 4 to 28. Fatty acids are one of the major components of lipids. Fatty acids and glycerol combine together to form lipids. Fatty acids are classified in numerous ways, such as by length (short chain, medium chain, long chain, or very long chain), by saturation vs unsaturation, by even vs odd carbon content, or by linear vs branched chain.
Moreover, fatty acids are very important dietary sources of fuel for animals and important structural components for cells. Furthermore, industrially fatty acids are used for the production of soap, surfactants, detergents, and lubricants. The other applications of fatty acids include their use as emulsifiers, texturing agents, wetting agents, antifoam agents, and stabilizing agents.
What is an Amino Acid?
Amino acid is the building block of proteins in nature. In biochemistry, an amino acid is defined as an organic compound that contains an amino group and carboxylic acid functional groups along with a side chain (R group). The R group is specific to each amino acid. More than 500 naturally occurring amino acids have been found as of 2020. However, only 22 amino acids appear in the genetic code. Among these 22 amino acids, 20 have their own designated codons, and the other two have special doing mechanisms (selenocysteine in all eukaryotes and pyrrolysine in some prokaryotes). Moreover, amino acids are classified based on the composition and properties of their R groups, such as basic, acidic, aromatic, aliphatic, or sulphur-containing.
Amino acids help to break down food, grow and repair body tissue, make hormones and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), provide an energy source, maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, build muscle, boost the immune system, and sustain a normal healthy digestive system. Furthermore, industrially amino acids are used as precursors for chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.
What are the Similarities Between Fatty Acid and Amino Acid?
- Fatty acid and amino acid are two different types of monomers.
- Both are organic compounds.
- They are very important to sustain life forms.
- They have biological as well as industrial uses.
What is the Difference Between Fatty Acid and Amino Acid?
Fatty acid is the building block of fats, while amino acid is the building block of proteins. Thus, this is the key difference between fatty acid and amino acid. Furthermore, fatty acid has the chemical formula of CH3(CH2)n COOH, while amino acid has the chemical formula of R-CH(NH2)-COOH.
The below infographic presents the differences between fatty acid and amino acid in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Fatty Acid vs Amino Acid
Fatty acid and amino acid are two different types of monomers that are very important to sustain life forms. Fatty acid is the building block of the fats in nature, while amino acid is the building block of the proteins in nature. So, this is the key difference between fatty acid and amino acid.
1. “Blausen 0396 FattyAcid” By Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Amino acids” By Dan Cojocari – Template:Own, Adobe Illustrator (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia