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Biological Polymers - Carbon in Living systems Carbon is...

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Carbon in Living systems  Carbon is one of the most common elements in living systems  Aside from water, most biologically important molecules are carbon-based.  Structural and functional diversity of organic molecules emerges from the ability of carbon to form large, complex and diverse molecules by bonding to itself and to other elements such as H, O, N, S and P. All biological macromolecules (polymers) are made of C and these elements. Macromolecules I. POLYMERS I. Large molecules consisting of many (Poly=many) identical or similar subunits (mer=part) connected together are called polymers. II. Monomer =Building block molecule of a polymer III. Macromolecule = (Macro=large) Large organic polymers. A. Formation of macromolecules from smaller building block molecules represents another level in the hierarchy of biological organization. B. There are four classes of macromolecules in living organisms: 1. Carbohydrates. 2. Lipids. 3. Proteins. 4. Nucleic acids. IV. Structural variation of macromolecules is the basis for the enormous diversity of life. A. There is unity in life as there are only about 40-50 common monomers used to construct macromolecules. B. There is diversity in life as new properties emerge when these universal monomers are arranged in different ways. I. Making and Breaking Polymers C. Dehydration Synthesis or Condensation - (Dehydration=loss of water; synthesis= producing larger molecules from smaller ones) 1. A reaction during which, single units (monomers) are covalently linked, producing net removal of a water molecule for each covalent linkage, making long polymers 2. This process requires energy, and is mediated by enzymes.
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D. Hydrolysis: A reaction of breaking covalent bonds between monomers by the addition of water molecules II. CARBOHYDRATES I. Monosaccharides (sugars) 1. Organic molecules made of sugars. 2. Are major nutrients for cells, Glucose is the most common. 3. Small difference between isomers affects molecular shape, which gives these molecules distinctive biochemical properties. 4. In aqueous solutions, many monosaccharides form rings. Chemical equilibrium favors the ring structure. II. Disaccharides 1. Disaccharide: A double sugar that consists of two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic linkage. 2. Glycosidic linkage - Covalent bond formed between two sugar monomers by dehydration synthesis III. Polysaccharides 1. Polysaccharides: Macromolecules that are polymers of a few hundred or thousand monosaccharides. 2. Are formed by linking monomers in enzyme-mediated dehydration synthesis. 3. Have two important biological functions. a. Energy storage (starch and glycogen). b. Structural support (cellulose and chitin).
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