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Carbohydrates are one of the four basic macromolecules of life, made from Carbon,
Hydrogen and Oxygen. General formulae of carbohydrate is (CH2O)n. They are also
polymers made up of monomers called monosaccharaides (e.g. glucose- blood sugar,
fructose- a sugar found in honey, galactose-a sugar in milk and yogurt).

Two monosaccharaides connected together makes a disaccharide. Sucrose, Lactose

and maltose are examples for disaccharides. Although the process of linking the two
monomers is rather complex, the end result in each case is the loss of a hydrogen atom (H)
from one of the monosaccharide and a hydroxyl group (OH) from the other. The linkage
between the sugars is called a glycosidic bond.
The molecular formula of each of these disaccharides is
C12H22O11 = 2 C6H12O6 H2O




glucose and fructose

Table sugar


glucose and galactose

Present in Milk


glucose and glucose

product of starch

Oligosaccharides are chains of three to nine monosaccharaides. And polysaccharide is

the name given to long chains of monosaccharaides connected. They are non-sugars,
insoluble and high molecular weight. Starch, cellulose and glycogen are some examples for
Starches are polymers of glucose. There are two types. They are amylose (long linear
unbranched chains of glucose residues) and amylopectin (highly branched).

Structure of the amylose molecule

Structure of the amylopectine molecule

Animal cells store excess glucose by polymerizing glucose in to glycogen. The

structure of glycogen is similar to that of amylopectin. Glycogen is a branched polymer.
Glycogen is broken back down into glucose when energy is needed. That process is called
glycogenolysis. Glycogen is mainly deposit in liver and skeletal muscles.

Structure of glycogen molecule

Cellulose is also a polysaccharide and glucose is its monomer. It founds in the cell
wall of the plants. These are much tougher than cell membranes. This toughness is due to
the hydrogen-bonds between neighboring chains.

Structure of Cellulose

Proteins are polymers that are made up of amino acids (monomer). Amino acids are
small molecules that contain an amine (-NH2), a carboxyl acid (-COOH), and a side chain

Structure of amino acid

There are twenty different amino acids. But each amino acid has a unique side chain
or R group. Amino acids joined together by peptide bonds and form protein polymer.

The functions of protein are,

Structure Skin, bones, hair, finger nails

Catalyst enzymes
Movement muscle, actin and myosin
Transport hemoglobin
The common types of proteins that can be found in biological systems are enzymes,

antibodies, transport proteins and structural proteins. Enzymes are biological catalyst and
they speed up the rate of biological reactions in living systems.

Structure of enzyme

Proteins, such as antibodies, are a part of the immune system or defense mechanism
in living systems.

Nucleic acid
Nucleic acids are the molecules that store and process genetic information inside the
cell. There are two types.
1. deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
2. ribonucleic acid (RNA)
Nucleic acid is makeup of small unit (monomer) called nucleotide. It contains a
sugar, a base, and a phosphate group.

Structure of nucleotide

1. DNA

DNA is found mainly in the nucleus of the cell. It contains the genetic or hereditary
information and made up four nucleotides.

adenine (A)
cytosine (C)
guanine (G)
thymine (T)

2. RNA
Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) is found mainly in the cytoplasm of the cell although it is
usually synthesized in the nucleus.
DNA contains the genetic codes to make RNA and the RNA in turn then contains the
codes for the primary sequence of amino acids to make proteins.


Carbohydrates. (2011, 03 21). Retrieved 03 21, 2015, from

Anthony D'Onofrio, P. (n.d.). Macromolecules of Life. Retrieved 03 21, 2015, from