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Triglycerides are fats carried in the blood from the food we eat. Most of the fats we eat, including butter, margarines, and oils, are in the form of triglycerides. Excess calories, alcohol or sugar in the body will be converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

Chemical Structure

Triglycerides are tri-esters composed of glycerol bound to three fatty acid molecules. Alcohols have a hydroxyl (HO-) group. Organic acids have a carboxyl (-COOH) group. Alcohols and organic acids join to form esters.

Example of a natural triglyceride with three different fatty acids.Fig.1 Example of a natural triglyceride with three different fatty acids.


  • By chain length

Fats can be classified according to the lengths of the carbon chains of their constituent fatty acids. A division commonly made in biochemistry and nutrition is:

Short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) with less than six carbons (e.g. butyric acid).

Medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) with 6 to 12 carbons (e.g. capric acid).

Long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) with 13 to 21 carbons (e.g. petroselinic acid).

Very long-chain fatty acids (VLCFA) with 22 or more carbons (e.g. cerotic acid with 26).

  • Saturated and unsaturated fats

Saturated fat has a predominance of saturated fatty acids, without any double bonds, while unsaturated fat has predominantly unsaturated acids with double bonds.

  • Cis and trans fats

Another important classification of unsaturated fatty acids considers the cis-trans isomerism, the spatial arrangement of the C-C single bonds adjacent to the double bonds.

  • Omega number

Another classification considers the position of the double bonds relative to the end of the chain.

Common Triglycerides for mRNA Delivery

Triglycerides in Nanocapsules for Drug Delivery

Nanocapsules are very widely applied as delivery systems for the protection and encapsulation of proteins, peptides, enzymes, hormones, metabolites, genes, and other drugs for various biomedical applications such as anti-inflammation therapy, anti-cancer therapy, and immunotherapy. Nanocapsules can present an oleic core highly suitable for the encapsulation of lipophilic molecules. Regarding the oily core, vegetable oil or fatty acids (such as medium-chain triglycerides) are optimal composition oleic phase for nanocapsules fabrication, due to the capacity to dissolve lipophilic drugs and the safety of the oil phase.

Schematic representation of nanocapsule formulation by interfacial deposition method.Fig.2 Schematic representation of nanocapsule formulation by an interfacial deposition method. (Deng, 2020)

Creative Biolabs is a world-leading biotechnology company that has been at the forefront of mRNA research for years. Our team of highly qualified and experienced technical staff will work with you to develop and deliver testing and analytical solutions to add value to your product or project. Please contact us for more information and a detailed quote.


  1. Deng, S.Y.; et al. Polymeric Nanocapsules as Nanotechnological Alternative for Drug Delivery System: Current Status, Challenges and Opportunities. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020, 10.
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