Organic Compounds

Organic Compounds - Organic Compounds It used to be thought...

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Organic Compounds It used to be thought that only living things could synthesize the complicated carbon compounds found in cells German chemists in the 1800’s learned how to do this in the lab, showing that “organic” compounds can be created by non-organic means. Today, organic compounds are those that contain carbon. (with a few exceptions such as carbon dioxide and diamonds)
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Carbon’s Bonding Pattern Carbon has 4 electrons in its outer shell. To satisfy the octet rule, it needs to share 4 other electrons. This means that each carbon atom forms 4 bonds. The 4 bonds are in the form of a tetrahedron, a triangular pyramid. Carbon can form long chains and rings, especially with hydrogens attached. Compounds with just carbon and hydrogen are “hydrocarbons”: non- polar compounds like oils and waxes.
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Functional Groups Most of the useful behavior of organic compounds comes from functional groups attached to the carbons. A functional group is a special cluster of atoms that performs a useful function.
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Metabolic Reactions In cells, compounds are built up and broken down in small steps by enzymes , which are proteins which cause specific chemical reactions to occur. Each enzyme causes one step in a metabolic pathway to occur. An example: condensing 2 sugars together by removing a water (H 2 O) from two alcohol (-OH) functional groups: This reaction can also be reversed by adding water to the bond. This is called hydrolysis , breaking apart a bond by adding water.
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Four Basic Types of Organic Molecule Most organic molecules in the cell are: carbohydrates (sugars and starches), lipids (fats), proteins , and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). These molecules are usually in the form of polymers, long chains of similar subunits. Because they are large, these molecules are called macromolecules . The subunits are called monomers. The cell also contains water, inorganic salts and ions, and other small organic molecules.
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Carbohydrates Sugars and starches: “saccharides ”. The name “carbohydrate” comes from the approximate composition: a ratio of 1 carbon to 2 hydrogens to one oxygen (CH 2 O). For instance the sugar glucose is C 6 H 12 O 6 . Carbohydrates are composed of rings of 5 or 6 carbons, with alcohol (-OH) groups attached. This makes most carbohydrates water-soluble. Carbohydrates are used for energy production and storage, and for structure.
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Sugars Simple sugars , like glucose and fructose, are composed of a single ring.
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