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Biomolecules Nucleic Acids

The Building Blocks of Life

Carbohydrates Lipids
Biomolecules are Organic
1. Organic molecules that are Carbon
based (at least 1 Carbon molecule and
often chains of Carbon)
– They all contain Carbon and Hydrogen and
often Nitrogen and often Oxygen.
Examples of organic molecules: Methane (CH4)
Glucose (C6H12O6). What about CO2?

2. They make up living organisms

Chemistry of Living Things
Organic Compounds:
Molecules that are found in living things.
Organic compounds contain carbon.
Why Carbon?
With an atomic number of 6, carbon has 4
valence (outer) electrons, in the 2nd energy
level which holds 8 electrons.
Because it needs to share 4 electrons to be
stable, it can form 4 bonds with a wide
variety of elements and form complex
1. Basic Molecules: Proteins, Carbohydrates
(sugars), Lipids (Fats), Nucleic Acid (DNA,

2. Macromolecule: Large molecules consisting

of bonded smaller molecules. They are
also called polymers (poly = many)

Ex: Starch is a macromolecule

Made of many glucoses bonded
1. Subunits: The smaller molecules that
are the building blocks of macro-
– Sugars that make up starch or cellulose
– Amino Acids that make up Proteins
– Fatty acids and glycerol make up lipids
• Simple vs. Complex DRAW THIS MOLECULE

• Simple sugars:
– Monosaccharide:
– “One” “Sugar”
– We will focus on
glucose: C6H1206
– The basic source of
energy for cells.
Simple Sugars:Carbohydrates
• Simple Sugars:
– Disaccharide
– “Two” “Sugars”

– Examples:
-Sucrose (table sugar)=
Glucose + Fructose

– Maltose=
Glucose + Glucose
Complex Sugars:
–“many sugars” = Complex Sugar.
–Starch : has thousands of glucoses
(sugars) bonded together

Complex Sugars:
• Cellulose: Makes up the walls of plant
cells. Also made from glucose.

• Ruminants (cattle, sheep) can digest both

cellulose and glucose.

• Humans can digest starch, but not

• Glycogen: Animals store carbohydrates
(glucose) in the form of glycogen; similar
in form to starch. Why????

• This is why…
– This is our reserve energy
– Stored in liver and muscles
– We do not want to lose our carbs all at once!!
Functions of simple and complex carbohydrates
• Cells use carbohydrates as their main source of energy.

•Simple sugars can quickly be used by cells to get the

energy they need.

•Complex carbs need to be broken down to be absorbed and

used. The slow breakdown allow organisms to gradually use
energy since it is stored in a large structure. (like the Bank)

•Plants use cellulose for their cell wall which provides

structure and support.
• Made of Amino Acid

• Amino Acids are

bonded through a
peptide bond
Each ball is
An Amino
Bonded by

There are 20
Amino Acids
There are 20 different occurring
amino acids
Protein Function
1. Building material: connective tissue
(collagen), muscle, hair, fingernails (keratin)

2. Enzymes: Help with chemical reaction in the

cells and body (catalyst)

3. Immunity: make up antibodies

4. Other specific functions such as Hemoglobin:

carry O2 in red blood cells
• Communication between cells: Receptors,
transport channels, cell recognition
Examples of
Protein Structures
The shape of protein
is important to its

Enzyme: Quaternary Structure

Enzymes are involved in nearly all metabolic
Digesting (breaking down) food
Releasing energy
Synthesis (building) of molecules
Pepsin is an enzyme in the stomach that
digests proteins into amino acids.
The 3-dimensional shape of a protein is
important for its function.

Under certain conditions, a protein may become

unfolded and will not be able to perform its function.
This unfolding of a protein is called denaturation.
Lipids (Fats)
• A common
lipid is made
of 3 fatty
acids chains
connected to
a glycerol
Lipids (Fats)
• Glycerol: a type of alcohol. The back
bone of Fats.
• 3 Fatty acid chains: Long chains of C & H
– Saturated=as many Hydrogens bonded as
possible (Solid at Room Temp.)
– Unsaturated= C and C bonds can be double
which decreases the amount of Hydrogens
bonded (usually Liquid at Room Temp.)
Lipids (Fats) Functions
• The main energy storing molecule in the
body because of the high percentage of
carbon to carbon bonds which store more
energy than other bonds. Why are bonds
• …because they Store chemical energy
• Lipids store more energy than any other
– 9 Cal/gram = lipids
– 4 Cal/gram = carbohydrates and proteins
Lipids (Fats) Functions
• Insulate and protect

• Main molecule of the

Cell membrane

• Make up some

• Storage molecule for

• What type of bond connects Amino Acids?
• What are lipids composed of?
• What are three types of carbohydrates?
What is the subunit for polysacharides?
• What are the four types of elements that
make up biomolecules?
Nucleic Acids
• Composed of subunits called nucleotides.
• There are 2 Types of Nucleic Acids: DNA
and RNA
• Stores hereditary information in the cell by
the order of the bases A, C, T and G
Synthesis of Polymers:
Dehydration Reactions
Many polymers are built by reactions
called dehydration reactions. An OH
group from one subunit is linked with a H
on the other subunit, forming water. The
subunits are linked covalently together.
When 2 amino acids are linked together by
a dehydration reaction, the bond is called
a peptide bond.
Breaking down Polymers:
Hydrolysis Reactions
When sugars, proteins or lipids are broken
down into their subunits, the opposite
process occurs.
Water is used in this process to break
apart the polymer, so it is called a
hydrolysis reaction (hydro= water, lysis= to
Animation of condensation and
hydrolysis reactions
Energy Storage in Biomolecules
• Energy is stored in the bonds of
• Some bonds can store more energy than
• For Biomolecules, carbon bonded to
carbon can store more energy than others.
• The higher the percentage of carbon to
carbon bonds, the more energy that can
be stored for the same amount.
Energy Storage
• Energy in biomolecules can be measured using
units of food calories.

Carbohydrates Proteins
Energy Storage
For the same amount of each type of biomolecule
below, which one has the most energy? Why?

Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids

Biomolecules and Energy
• Fats have 9 Calories per gram
• Proteins and Carbohydrates both have about 4
Calories per gram
• Fats can store more energy because of the large
percentage of carbon to carbon bonds.
Application Question
• Our bodies and many other organisms
store their long term excess energy as fat.

• What is the advantage of storing this

energy as fat instead of complex
Practice Questions
• Match the biomolecule (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic
acids) with its function:

1. Help speed up reaction in cells by acting as enzymes

2. Provide insulation to our bodies
3. It is the main energy source for our cells
4. Stores genetic material to be passed onto new cells
5. It is used to make up cell walls in plants
6. It can store the most energy and is used for long term energy
storage in animals
7. Act as building and support molecules such as connective tissue
and hair.
Help speed up reaction in cells by acting as enzymes
Proteins act as enzymes
2. Provide insulation to our bodies
3. It is the main energy source for our cells
4. Stores genetic material to be passed onto new cells
Nucleic Acids make up DNA
5. It is used to make up cell walls in plants
Cellulose is a type of Carbohydrate
6. It can store the most energy and is used for long term energy
storage in animals
7. Act as building and support molecules such as connective
tissue and hair.
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