Chapter_15

Chapter_15 - Chapter15 Biochemistry Introduction...

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Chapter 15 Biochemistry Introduction Biochemistry is an infant science. Many people trace its birth to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in 1962 to Watson and Crick for determining the structure of DNA. This event can be interpreted as a sign of recognition by Nobel committee that the scientific community had finally broken through the age-old conceptual barrier that man was fundamentally incapable of creating and mastering physical life. Many scientists turned their attentions toward the arduous uphill climb that mankind must now
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undertake to make the goal of mastering life a reality, and a bold new field was born.
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The chemistry of life is incredibly complex, but slowly, bit by bit, science is starting to unravel it. The release and public reaction to the movie "Jurassic Park," rather than the 1962 Nobel Prize, is probably the watershed event where the general public grasped the significance of biochemistry the way that the scientific community did in 1962. The recent successful cloning of a sheep by Scottish biochemists has certainly reinforced this awareness. This chapter will merely scratch the surface of even the relatively small amount which is already known about the chemistry of life. More than anything else you encounter in this course, the material in this chapter will become more and more familiar to you as biochemistry advances and changes the way we live our everyday lives. The time is slowly coming when we will all undoubtedly live in a very brave new world.
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Biopolymers With the exception of water (70% of human body weight), fat, and bone, nearly all of the material composing the bodies of all living beings is polymeric. Fat made mostly of triesters of glycerol and fatty acids. CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CH 2 CH CH 2 O O O C C C O O O CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC Fat molecule. Hydrogens and C-C double bonds on fatty acid fragments not shown. Almost all biopolymers in living beings come in one of three varieties: carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids (all are condensation polymers formed by loss of water).
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Carbohydrates made of simple sugar molecules ("monosaccharides"). Carbohydrates can be monomers, oligomers (very small polymers), or polymers ("polysaccharides"). The polymers can be linear or branched. Examples of carbohydrate polymers are wood (cellulose), starch, paper, glycogen (blood sugar stored in liver by insulin), cotton, and fruit pulp. Common dimers (oligomers) are table sugar and milk sugar. Monomers: blood sugar (glucose) and fruit sugar (fructose). Carbohydrates composed entirely of C, H, and O. Monomers have empirical formula (CH 2 O) n , which is source of the word "carbohydrate" (hydrated carbon).
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Proteins made of "amino acid" monomers. Amino acids have both amine functional group and carboxylic acid group attached to same carbon (alpha carbon). All proteins made of C, H, O, and N, but most also have S.
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Chapter_15 - Chapter15 Biochemistry Introduction...

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