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Chapter 2 : Biological
End of this chapter the student will learn about:
a) What is the Functional groups and types.
b) Macromolecules
a) The build up of covalent bond by condensation or dehydration. b) The brake up of covalent bond by hydrolysis

c) The chemical elements of life: a review

Functional groups contribute to the molecular diversity of life
• The components of organic molecules that are most commonly involved in chemical reactions are known as functional groups.
• Functional groups are attachments that replace one or more hydrogen atoms to the carbon skeleton of the hydrocarbon. • Each functional groups behaves consistently from one organic molecule to another.
• The number and arrangement of functional groups help give each molecule its unique properties.

• The basic structure of testosterone (male hormone) and estradiol (female hormone) is identical. • Both are steroids with four fused carbon rings, but they differ in the functional groups attached to the rings. • These then interact with different targets in the body.

Fig. 4.8

• There are six functional groups that are most important to the chemistry of life: hydroxyl, carbonyl, carboxyl, amino, sulfhydryl, and phosphate groups.
• All are hydrophilic and increase solubility of organic compounds in water.

Functional groups are specific groups of atoms within molecules that are responsible for the characteristic chemical reactions of those molecules.
• Hydroxyl group

“R” group is a hydrocarbon chain.

• carbonyl group

A and B represent 2 atom (C:C) or (C:H)


• carboxyl group

• amino


• sulfhydryl group

“R” group is a hydrocarbon chain.

• phosphate group

• In a hydroxyl group (-OH), a hydrogen atom forms a polar covalent bond with an oxygen which forms a polar covalent bond to the carbon skeleton.
• Because of these polar covalent bonds hydroxyl groups improve the solubility of organic molecules.
• Organic compounds with hydroxyl groups are alcohols and their names typically end in -ol.

• A carbonyl group (=CO) consists of an oxygen atom joined to the carbon skeleton by a double bond.
• If the carbonyl group is on the end of the skeleton, the compound is an aldelhyde.

• If not, then the compound is a ketone.
• Isomers with aldehydes versus ketones have different properties. • A carboxyl group (-COOH) consists of a carbon atom with a double bond with an oxygen atom and a single bond to a hydroxyl group.
• Compounds with carboxyl groups are carboxylic acids.

• A carboxyl group acts as an acid because the combined electronegativities of the two adjacent oxygen atoms increase the dissociation of hydrogen as an ion (H+).

• An amino group (-NH2) consists of a nitrogen atom attached to two hydrogen atoms and the carbon skeleton.
• Organic compounds with amino groups are amines.
• The amino group acts as a base because ammonia can pick up a hydrogen ion (H+) from the solution.
• Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, have amino and carboxyl groups.

• A sulfhydryl group (-SH) consists of a sulfur atom bonded to a hydrogen atom and to the backbone.
• This group resembles a hydroxyl group in shape.
• Organic molecules with sulfhydryl groups are thiols. • Sulfhydryl groups help stabilize the structure of proteins. • A phosphate group (-OPO32-) consists of phosphorus bound to four oxygen atoms (three with single bonds and one with a double bond).
• A phosphate group connects to the carbon backbone via one of its oxygen atoms.
• Phosphate groups are anions with two negative charges as two protons have dissociated from the oxygen atoms.
• One function of phosphate groups is to transfer energy between organic molecules.

• Cells join smaller organic molecules together to form larger molecules.
• These larger molecules, macromolecules, may be composed of thousands of atoms and weigh over 100,000 daltons.
• The four major classes of macromolecules are: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Most macromolecules are polymers
• Three of the four classes of macromolecules form chainlike molecules called polymers.
– Polymers consist of many similar or identical building blocks linked by covalent bonds.

• The repeated units are small molecules called monomers. – Some monomers have other functions of their own.

• The chemical mechanisms that cells use to make and break polymers are similar for all classes of macromolecules. • Monomers are connected by covalent bonds via a condensation reaction or dehydration reaction. – One monomer provides a hydroxyl group and the other provides a hydrogen and together these form water.
– This process requires energy and is aided by enzymes.

• The covalent bonds connecting monomers in a polymer are disassembled by hydrolysis.
– In hydrolysis as the covalent bond is broken a hydrogen atom and hydroxyl group from a split water molecule attaches where the covalent bond used to be. – Hydrolysis reactions dominate the digestive process, guided by specific enzymes. The chemical elements of life: a review
• Living matter consists mainly of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen, with smaller amounts of sulfur and phosphorus.
• These elements are linked by strong covalent bonds.
• Carbon with its four covalent bonds is the basic building block in molecular architecture.
• The great diversity of organic molecules with their special properties emerge from the unique arrangement of the carbon skeleton and the functional groups attached to the skeleton.

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