MolLivePrint - The molecules of life are macromolecules...

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The molecules of life are macromolecules made from carbon atoms. These organic molecules are essentially the same in every organism. The four main types of organic molecules are proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Carbon atoms form the backbone of all of these organic molecules and the unique properties of carbon are responsible for the formation of the large number of organic compounds. Carbon atoms become stable by sharing electrons with other atoms. The number of electrons any atom can share or gain is determined by the amount needed to make eight electrons in the outer energy shell of that atom. This property of atoms is termed the “octet rule.” The octet rule states “atoms tend to gain, lose or share electrons in order to have eight electrons in their outer energy level.” The carbon atom has four electrons in its outer shell with room for a total of eight electrons. Therefore, a carbon atom can form as many as four covalent bonds by sharing electrons with other carbon atoms as well as with other elements (Figure 1). Carbon atoms form either four single bonds or double or triple bonds and they link together in chains, branches or rings. Atoms or groups of atoms attached to the carbon backbone are functional groups that determine the chemical reactivity of organic molecules. Organic molecules are distinctive in their structure and properties because of their characteristic functional groups. The same
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course PHYS 195 taught by Professor Anderson during the Winter '07 term at San Diego State.

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MolLivePrint - The molecules of life are macromolecules...

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