BiologicalMolecules160-page5 - Biological Molecules - 5...

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Biological Molecules - 5 Before discussing the specifics of the molecules of living organisms, we should also be familiar with the chemical processes by which large molecules (polymers or macromolecules) are built from smaller molecules (often called monomers or subunits) that have a common structure. Most of our biological molecules are assembled or broken down using the same types of chemical reactions, used to assemble, rearrange and break apart molecules. Among the most common of reactions are the chemical reactions that involve adding or removing water molecules. Polymers are formed from their subunits by removing molecules of water (a hydrogen (H-) from one subunit and the hydroxyl (-OH) from the second subunit) to join the subunits together. This is called a dehydration synthesis, or condensation reaction. When larger molecules are broken down, such as in digestion, water molecules are added in to break the macromolecules into their subunits, a process called hydrolysis or sometimes referred to as a cleavage reaction. A second common set of chemical reactions in living organisms involves the
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This note was uploaded on 12/29/2011 for the course BIO 151 taught by Professor Edwards during the Spring '10 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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