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BIOLOGICAL MOLECULES Introduction Chemical compounds! which make up the cells, tissues and organs of living organisms are divided into two groups: 1. Organic compounds 2. Inorganic compounds Organic Compounds All living things are composed of organic compounds. Generally, organic compounds are distinguished from inorganic compounds by the presence of both carbon and hydrogen. We are referred to as carbon-based life forms, as is all life on earth. This means that carbon is a component of most of the chemical molecules that make up living organisms on earth. The main organic compounds found in living organisms are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, (which are macromolecules) and vitamins. Inorganic Compounds ‘An inorganic compound is a chemical compound that is not an organic compound. Ofall the the inorganic compounds, minerals and water are the most important. ‘We will now examine the chemical structure of water and carbohydrate, Water We often perceive liquid water (H,0) (water is liquid between 0 and 100°C) to be ordinary as itis transparent, odorless and tasteless. It is the simplest compound of the two ‘most common reactive elements in the Universe, consisting of just two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom. Actually, very few molecules are smaller or lighter. 1. A chemical compound is a chemical substance consisting of two or more diffrent chemically bonded chemical elements, wih 2 fixed rai determining the composition “The rat of each element is usually expressed by chemical formula, For example, water (110) is a compound consisting of two hydrogen atoms bonded o every oxygen tom However, liquid water is the most extraordinary substance. Although we drink it, wash, fish and swim in it, and cook with it, we nearly always overlook the special felationship it has with our lives. Approximately 80% of most human cells is water and 60% of the whole body is made up of it, Water provides the medium for almost all chemical reaction of life to take place, as many of the chemical reaction in cells take place in aqueous solution, Water molecules are polar molecules” with a negatively charged oxygen atom (5-) and positively charge hydrogen atoms (5+). These opposite charges attract each other, forming yydrogen bonds, ‘The polarity of water is caused by its shape. Instead of being in a straight line (180°), the angle between the two hydrogen atoms is only 105°. os yaan H 105C H 3s By ‘Water has a number of important properties essential for life. Many of the properties below are due to the hydrogen bonds in water: + Solvent, Because it is charged, (the positively charged hydrogen atoms and a negatively charged oxygen atom) water is a very good solvent. Charged or polar molecules such as salts, sugars, amino acids dissolve readily in water and so are called hydrophilic ("water loving"). Uncharged or non-polar molecules such as lipids do not dissolve so well in water and are called hydrophobic ("water hating"). 2. A polar molecule sone which hasan unevenly distributed elctricl charge, so theres postive pion and a ncpative eon Specific heat capacity or thermal properties. A substance’s specific heat capacity is the amount of energy in joules required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of that substance by 1°C. Water has a specific heat capacity of 4.2 J g'°C, which means that it takes 4.2 joules of energy to heat 1 g of water by 1°C. This is unusually high and it means that water does not change temperature very easily. This minimizes fluctuations in temperature inside cells, and it also means that sea temperature is remarkably constant. Latent heat of vaporisation. Water requires a lot of energy to change state from a liquid into a gas, and this is made use of as a cooling mechanism in animals (sweating and panting) and plants (transpiration- the loss of water by evaporation from the surface of leaves). As water evaporates it extracts heat from around it, cooling the organism. Latent heat of fusion, Water also requires a lot of heat to change state from a solid to a liquid, and must loose a lot of heat to change state from a liquid to a solid. This means it is difficult to freeze water, so ice crystals are less likely to form inside cells. Density or Water freezing properties. Water is unique in that the solid state (ice) is less dense that the liquid state, so ice floats on water. As the air temperature cools, bodies of water freeze from the surface, forming a layer of ice with liquid water underneath. This allows aquatic ecosystems to exist even in sub- zero temperatures. Cohesion or Surface tension of water. Surface tension is the foree that causes the surface of a liquid to contract so that it occupies the least possible area. Water molecules "stick together" due to their hydrogen bonds, so water has high cohesion. This explains why long columns of water can be sucked up tall trees by transpiration without breaking. It also explains surface tension, which allows ‘small animals to walk on water. ‘Transparency. This feature is very important biologically. ‘The present of light facilitate photosynthesis in oceans and other aquatic environment thus providing for a community of living organism. It is also of great importance to animals living in water, for it allows them to see.