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BIOMOLECULES

A biomolecule is an organic molecule produced by a living organism, primarily consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and to lesser extent phosphorous and sulfur. Therefore all living organisms are essentially made up carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Other elements sometimes are incorporated but are much less common. All these biomolecules work together in an interrelated fashion to form an organism. Biomolecules are of four major types

Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids and Nucleic acids

Carbohydrates Carbohydrates, which include the sugars and polysaccharides, have many important functions in biological systems. They are so named because the structural formula is typically (CH2O)n, where n is an integer such as 5 (C5H10O5), 6 (C6H12O6), etc. Carbohydrates is the term derived from the French word hydrate de carbone- hydrates of carbon. Saccharides is a Greek term skcharon, meaning sugar. Thus Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugar made up of Carbon and hydrogen.

Strictly All Carbohydrates have one Carbonyl group (> C=O) either in the form of aldehyde (RCHO) or in the form of ketone [RC(=O)R'] There are many hydroxyl groups (-C=OH) attached to the carbon backbone. The structure of one of the most common Carbohydrate - glucose is given below.

Like most classes of biological molecules, carbohydrates occur as both monomers and polymers. Small carbohydrates are called sugars, which commonly include monosaccharides (single sugars) and some disaccharides (two sugars linked together). Larger carbohydrates consisting of multiple chains are termed polysaccharides. The most abundant monosaccharide in nature is the six-carbon sugar D-glucose, sometimes referred to as dextrose. Oligosaccharides consist of short chains of monosaccharide units(2-10), or residues, joined by characteristic linkages called glycosidic bonds. The most abundant are the disaccharides, with two monosaccharide units. Best known example of disaccharides is sucrose (cane sugar). Polysaccharides are sugar polymers containing more than 10 or so monosaccharide units, and some have hundreds or thousands of units. Some polysaccharides, such as cellulose, are linear chains; others like glycogen are branched. Functions of carbohydrates include: serving as building blocks or units for many polymers storing short-term energy providing structural building materials

Proteins The most abundant and diverse molecules found in living cells are proteins. Proteins are macromolecules, ranging from simply large to enormous. These are complexshaped polymers made from the 20 different amino acids used by terrestrial organisms. Proteins typically make up about half the total weight of biomolecules in a cell (excluding water). Proteins play fundamental role in structuring and vital functions of all living creatures. This wide class of biomolecules includes well-known names such as albumin, hemoglobin, insulin. Proteins play a wide variety of functional roles, including: Enzymes as catalysts, such as ribonuclease, that accelerate specific chemical reactions up to 10 billion times faster than they would spontaneously occur; one cell may contain some thousand different types of enzymes at one time Structural materials, including keratin (the protein found in hair and nails) and collagen (the protein found in connective tissue) Specific binding, such as antibodies that bind specifically to foreign substances to identify them to the body's immune system Specific carriers, including membrane transport proteins that move substances across cell membranes, and blood proteins, such as hemoglobin, that carry oxygen, iron, and other substances through the body Contraction in muscles, such as actin and myosin fibers that interact in muscle tissue Signaling, including hormones such as insulin that regulate sugar levels in blood

Lipids Lipids include various biomolecules whose common property is their insolubility in water. Lipids include a variety of molecular types, such as neutral fats, oils, steroids, waxes, some vitamins, hormones and some components of membranes. Unlike other classes of biomolecules, lipids do not form large polymers. Two or three fatty acids are usually polymerized with glycerol, but other lipids, such as steroids, do not form polymers. Lipids perform many important functions in biological systems, including: contributing to the structure of membranes that enclose cells and cell compartments protecting against dessication (drying out) storing concentrated energy insulating against cold absorbing shocks Steroids function both as hormones (such as the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone) and as structural material (such as cholesterol, an integral part of animal cell membranes). Nucleic Acids These molecules are the basis for the genetic material of all life on Earth. Nucleic acids function primarily as informational molecules for the storage and retrieval of information about the primary sequence of polypeptides.

They consist of sequences of nucleotides, which are three chemical groups bonded together: nitrogenous bases, a particular sugar, and a phosphate group. These nucleotides link up, or polymerize to form long sequences called nucleic acid, either single-stranded (RNA) or doublestranded (DNA). There are two types of nucleic acids: Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which serves as a cellular database by storing an immense amount of information about all the polypeptides a cell can potentially make (genetic material). Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which occurs in several different forms (messenger RNA, ribosomal RNA, transfer RNA) and is needed to convert DNA information into polypeptide sequences. in some viruses, RNA serves as the genetic material. Nucleic acids are built from subunits called nucleotides. Each nucleotide has three components: 1. A nitrogenous base- these 5 or 6 sided ring molecules. There are two classes, called Purines (Adenine and Guanine) and Pyrimidines (Cytosine, Thymine in DNA, Cytosine, Uracil in RNA). 2. A 5-carbon or pentose sugar (Ribose for RNA, Deoxyribose for DNA) 3. One or more phosphate groups, the phosphates link together the sugar+ base (nucleoside). Together, the base + sugar + phosphate is called a nucleotide.

Water The fundamental chemical and physiological properties of water are as follows: Unique property resulting from its molecular configuration and H 2 bonding. The H2O molecule is composed of 2 H2 atoms covalently bonded to each side of O2 atom. The mean angle in between (1050) is not rigid and so it can absorb large quantities of heat as well as be subjected to physical stress without the breaking of the bonds. Water is a dipolar substance i.e. one pole or end is positively charged and the other pole is negatively charged (due to electron attracting property of oxygen). Because of this asymmetrical distribution, the water molecules can bind to each other (cohesion) and also to other substances (adhesion). This interaction is critical for the movement of water in the soil and the translocation of water in plants. The attraction of the +ive H2 atom of one water molecule for the ive O2 atom of another water molecule results in the formation of a H2 bond (Hydrogen bond). Similarly the H2 atom of the water molecule can also bind to the exposed O2 atom on the surfaces of substances like cell wall, glass etc and results in the formation of H 2 bond (Hydrogen bond). Functions of water in a living system: Chief constituent of protoplasm. Principal solvent as most of the manufactured food is transported in the form of solution from one part of plant body to another. Medium for hydrolysis reactions within plant cells. Primary raw material required for photosynthesis in plant cells. Causes swelling of plant cells leading to turgid conditions which maintain stiffness of plant tissues. Required for germination, respiration, growth and other vital activities of plant cell.