Monday, May 1, 2017


In Monday's class, we talked about the difference between organic (based on carbon) and inorganic (based on some other element) molecules.   Life, of course, is based on organic molecules.

We explained that there are four major classes of carbon-based compounds used by living things:   carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.

Each of these compounds is made of individual 'building blocks' called MONOMERS.   The monomers are linked together with covalent bonds to make large chains called POLYMERS, and the process of making polymers is referred to as POLYMERIZATION.

Here's a video from Bozeman Science, with animations, that gives some nice background on monomers and polymers:

Carbohydrates are carbon-based macromolecules based on C, H and O.  They are polar and readily dissolve in water.

A simple sugar by itself, like glucose, is termed a monosaccharide, and serves as a 'building block' (monomer) to build a larger chain of many molecules called a polymer. In the case of carbohydrates, the polymer made from many monosaccharides linked together by dehydration reactions is called a polysaccharide.

Examples of polysaccharides made of glucose include cellulose, glycogen and starch.   Each of these glucose polymers are biologically important. 

 Finally, here's yet another video by AP Chemistry teacher Paul Andersen, this on the class of macromolecules called PROTEINS.   

 PROTEINS often are used to build extremely useful and specific molecules called ENZYMES:


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