Special Issue "Fatty Acids"
A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2013)
Fatty acids play important roles in vertebrates, invertebrates, microbes and plants. In mammals they are found in cellular membranes as components of the phospholipids, as sources of energy (via beta-oxidation), as signaling molecules (certain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as arachidonic acid), as precursors to bioactive compounds in various tissues (eicosanoids, resolvins, neuroprotectins and related compounds), and as organic compounds capable of influencing gene expression in various tissues.
There continues to be controversy over which types of saturated fatty acids are ‘most harmful’; whether trans fatty acids from industrial sources or ruminant sources have the same biological properties; whether positional distribution of fatty acids on glycerol backbone of triacylglycerols is biologically meaningful; whether linoleic acid is as cardioprotective as previously thought; which omega 3 fatty acids are important to human health and whether medium chain fatty acids have a role in health? Furthermore, there is an ongoing debate about the capacity of humans and other species to effectively metabolise linolenic acid to the longer chain omega 3 fatty acid (DHA). In terms of brain health controversy exists over the roles of EPA and DHA (and even DPA) in development, depression and other neuropsychological disorders. It is still not clear how the polyunsaturated fatty acids are transported to the brain and how these are delivered to neurons, astrocytes and oligodendroglial cells.
Plants are capable of synthesizing a wide range of fatty acids, with much of these being stored in the seeds in the TAG form. Recent advances in gene technology has lead to the ‘engineering’ of the composition of the fatty acids in different oilseed plants. Furthermore, in plants, highly unsaturated fatty acids are precursors to hydroxy fatty acids, known as oxylipins, which play a role in inflammatory processes.
Fatty acids are found in microbes and generally are different to those present in mammals and plants, with straight chain, branched chain and monounsaturates predominating. There is a significant effort being made to identify species of microbes living in the marine environment as potential sources of long chain omega 3 fatty acids. Gut microbiota can make short chain fatty acids which are regarded as important for gut health, but is this the only property of these fatty acids in the gut (do they play a role systemically?).
A novel source of fatty acids has been created by the search for oil-bearing marine microalgae or phytoplankton, for omega 3 fatty acids or even as a potential biofuel. Certain fungi are also being used to produce polyunsaturated fatty acids such as arachidonic acid.
Recent developments in the application of lipidomic technologies have increased our understanding of the importance of these tools to allow much greater insight into the role of individual fatty acids in cells.
The objective of this special issue of Molecules is to highlight the latest breakthroughs in the exploration and in the applications of fatty acids, covering all aspects in different species of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and micro-organisms.
Dr. Andrew Sinclair
Manuscript Submission Information
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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- saturated fatty acids
- short chain fatty acids
- medium chain fatty acids
- monounsaturated fatty acids
- trans fatty acids
- hydroxy fatty acids
- furan fatty acids
- polyunsaturated fatty acids
- omega 3 fatty acids
- omega 6 fatty acids
- nutritional biochemistry
- effects on gene, protein and metabolite expression
- analytical chemistry, lipidomics
- medical physiology