What Are the Four Macromolecules of Life?
Biological systems are made up of four major macromolecules: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Nucleic acids and Proteins Macromolecules are large molecules that are composed of smaller units.
The four major macromolecules are carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are the most abundant macromolecules on earth, and they are the source of immediate energy needs in living Macromoleules of life.
Carbohydrates also participate in defining the structure of cells and living systems. Carbohydrates includes single sugars or multiple sugar molecules bonded together into polymers.
Collectively, there are three types of carbohydrates. They are monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. Monosaccharides, also referred to as simple sugars, are made up of a single sugar molecule.
The major example of a monosaccharide is glucose. Sugar molecules, such as the glucose molecule, contain many OH functional groups. For example, the molecular formula for glucose is C6H12O6.
Other examples of monosaccharides include isomers of glucose, such as fructose and galactose. Monosaccharides are transported in the blood of animals, broken down to produce chemical energy inside the cell, and can also be found in other macromolecules such as nucleic acids.
Disaccharides are composed of two single monomers of sugar linked together. Disaccharides are broken down into their subunits for use inside living systems. Polysaccharides are made up of chains of sugar monomers linked together, and they are stored inside the cell for future energy use.
In plants, the major storage polysaccharide is starch, while in animals it is glycogen. Inside plants like the potato, starch is stored inside of granules throughout the winter until it is needed for growth in the springtime. In animals, glycogen is stored inside the liver and it released when the amount of glucose in the blood circulation is too low.
At this time, glycogen is broken down chemically into monomers of glucose. Plants also contain cellulose, which is the most abundant of all carbohydrates.
Cellulose is the found in the plant cell wall, where it provides structure and support to the plant cell. Lipids Lipids are macromolecules that are all insoluble in water.
They include oils and fats, phospholipids, and steroids. Oils are found in plants, where they are used for long term energy storage. Fats are found in animals where they also provide long term energy storage, as well as insulation.
Fats and oils are composed of glycerol and fatty acids. On average, a fatty acid contains sixteen to eighteen carbon atoms per molecule. Based on the number of carbons and the number of double bonds that are present, fatty acids can be classified as saturated or unsaturated.
Fatty acids are saturated when they do not contain any double bonds between the carbons, and unsaturated when they contain double bonds. An example of a saturated fat is butter, while an example of an unsaturated fat is vegetable oil. Fats and oils are formed in a dehydration reaction in which, three fatty acids react with the -OH group in glycerol.
Triglycerides, which are the major component of vegetable oil as well stored fat in animals, are composed of three fatty acids and glycerol. Phospholipids are found primarily in the cell membrane s of living systems, of which they are the major component.
Structurally, a phospholipid contains a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail. The head of the phospholipid contains a phosphate group, while the tail is typically a diglyceride. The cell membrane is a double layer of phospholipids, in which the tails are turned inwards and the heads are exposed to the intracellular and extracellular environments.
Phospholipids are also used inside biological systems for cell to cell signalling. Steroids are also lipids, however they are the most unique category in the group.
Steroids are typically made up of fused hydrocarbon rings.Nucleic acids are the molecules inside the cell that store and process genetic or hereditary information. The two types of nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA). These macromolecules are called nucleic acids, because they were first found inside the nucleus of the cell.
The literal definition of the term macromolecule implies large molecule. In the context of science and engineering, the term may be applied to conventional polymers and biopolymers (such as DNA.
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A macromolecule is a very large molecule, such as protein, commonly created by the polymerization of smaller subunits Proteins are functional macromolecules responsible for catalysing the biochemical reactions that sustain life.: 3 Proteins carry out all functions of an organism, for example photosynthesis, neural function, vision, and.
Macromolecules are just that – large molecules. The four groups of macromolecules, shown in the table below, are essential to the structure and function of a cell.