THE CHEMISTRY OF ORGANIC MOLECULES
I. MACROMOLECULES-large molecules that are composed of smaller molecules and atoms that are bonded together. These are among the largest of all chemical molecules.
A. Polymers-the largest of the macromolecules. These are composed of numerous, small
identical subunits known as Monomers. There are 4 major polymers that are important for
living organisms. These polymers are; carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.
B. Polymers are referred to as being organic compounds. Organic compounds are compounds
that contain the elements carbon and hydrogen.
1. Chemical Properties of Carbon
a. Carbon has 6 electrons. What is the structure of a carbon atom?
b. Carbon can form 4 single covalent bonds with other atoms. It also has the
ability to form double bonds with some atoms. Overall, the 4 bonds that
carbon forms with other atoms makes the carbon stable. This stability is what
makes carbon an important component of macromolecules.
C. Functional Groups-groups of covalently bonded atoms that have definite chemical properties.
1. These always react in the same way, regardless of what molecule they are a part of.
2. Some polymers have several functional groups.
3. The exact arrangement of a functional group in a molecule greatly influences and
determines the chemical properties of the particular molecule.
4. Important Functional Groups:
D. The Formation and Destruction of Polymers
1. Dehydration (Condensation) Reactions-reactions in which monomers bond together to
a. Water is lost from the monomers in these reactions.
2. Hydrolysis Reactions-reactions in which polymers are broken down into monomers.
a. These reactions require an input of water to occur.
II. 4 MAJOR POLYMERS IN LIVING ORGANISMS
D. Nucleic Acids
III. CARBOHYDRATES-includes sugars and related compounds.
A. Carbohydrates are composed of three major elements:
B. Carbohydrates tend to be very strong compounds due to the presence of carbon-hydrogen
C. Carbohydrates serve as a major source of energy for living cells. Some carbohydrates also
serve as structural compounds in living cells.
D. 3 Classes of Carbohydrates
1. Monosaccharides-simple sugars
a. These serve as monomers for many of the larger carbohydrates.
b. Structurally, these serve as rings or chains.
c. Types of Monosaccharides
a. Serves as a major energy source for living cells.
a. Isomers-compounds with the same atoms and the same
number of atoms but, that have different structures. Glucose
and fructose are isomers of each other.
2. Dissacharides-sugars that are composed of 2 monosaccharides that are covalently
bonded together. These are formed by dehydration reactions.
a. Types of Disaccharides
3. Polysaccharides-sugars that are composed of more than 2 monosaccharides that are
covalently bonded together. These are often very large molecules.
a. What types of reactions are these formed by?
b. Types of Polysaccharides
1. Starch-a stored form of glucose in plant cells. Plants can use starch for
energy under times of need or stress. Amylose is a common starch.
2. Cellulose-makes up the cell wall of plant cells. This is a thick,
protective polysaccharide. Many animals do not contain the needed
enzymes to break this compound down. Deer, cows and a few other
animals have special bacteria in their stomachs that help digest and
3. Glycogen-the storage form of glucose in animal cells. Many animals...
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