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Introduction to lingual lipase

Lipases are enzymes that are water-soluble and perform actions as a catalyst for the hydrolysis reaction of chemical bonds in lipid substrates.

Basically, they are very important for the proper functioning of the digestive system. This enzyme breaks down fats and free fatty acids and they also place a very important role in the fermentation process.

Lipases from bacteria and fungi are what help cheese and yogurt to ferment.

How does it work?

The lingual lipase is secreted in the buccal cavity, by the Ebner’s glands, which are located on the tongue.

They help to break down saturated fatty acids and in essence, help greatly with the digestion process.

They also make the digestion of milk fat by babies possible and they already start developing even before the baby is born, prepping the body, in a sense, for breastfeeding.

They essentially hydrolyze a triglyceride into a diglyceride and free fatty acid. First protons from the serine are removed, which makes a nucleophile.

The two valence electrons on the oxygen of the serine then undergo what is called a nucleophilic addition, which is essentially a pi bond being replaced by two new covalent bonds once the nucleophile is added.

After another cycle of this so-called proton removal, the two valence electrons that are located on the oxygen atom of water go through yet another nucleophilic addition reaction. This is how the lingual lipase breaks down triglycerides to form diglycerides and free fatty acids.

In the end, we have a diglyceride and a free fatty acid, along with a small amount of monoacyglyceride, which also plays a crucial role in breaking food down.


Lingual lipase is not just another enzyme, it is very important and it plays a very key role in the process of digestion.

It is one of those things we never think about as we go about our daily lives, working, eating and sleeping, but these little things play key roles in keeping the body functioning the way it should

It is also interesting to note that such things that go on in our bodies, which we do not pay any mind to, are very complex processes that involve many different parts. It could be said that the human body works like a chemical laboratory on its own, and this is going on 24 hours a day, though no one notices. These things, such as, digestion, and other bodily processes, are in fact very complex, even though the regular person understands them as being simple processes.

The truth is that they are extremely complex processes, with millions of little things needed to be done and bodily events that must happen in order for the process to be completed successfully.

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