06 Organic Macromolecules Lab Packet.docx

06 Organic Macromolecules Lab Packet.docx - Organic...

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Organic Macromolecules Most organic compounds in living organisms are either carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids. Each of these macromolecules is made of smaller subunits. These subunits are held together by covalent bonds and have different structures and properties. For example, lipids are made of fatty acids and have many C-H bonds and relatively little oxygen, whereas, proteins are made of amino acids and have amino (N-H) and carboxyl (C=O) groups. These characteristic subunits and groups impart different chemical properties to macromolecules. Scientists have devised several biochemical tests to identify the major types of organic compounds in living organisms. Each of these tests involves 2 or more solutions: an unknown solution to be identified and one or more controls. As its name implies, an unknown solution may or may not contain the substance that the investigator is trying to detect. Only a carefully conducted experiment will reveal its contents. In contrast, controls are known solutions. We use controls to validate that our procedure is detecting what we expect it to detect and nothing more. During the experiment, we compare the unknown solution’s response to the experimental procedure with the control’s response to that same procedure. We will have both positive and negative controls in the experiments we perform today. A positive control contains the variable for which we are testing; it reacts positively and demonstrates the test’s ability to detect what is expected. For example, if you are testing for a protein in unknown solutions, then an appropriate positive control is a solution known to contain protein. A positive reaction in a positive control solution shows that a test reacts correctly; it also shows what a positive test looks like. A negative control does not contain the variable which is being studied. It contains only the solvent and does not react when the test is performed. In addition, a negative control shows what a negative result look like.
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