From Functional Groups to Biomolecules

We have released two new videos in our Biology 101 series. These videos take you from an overview of functional groups to the chemical reactions that link the functional groups of the simple building blocks of biomolecules (monomer) to form the long chains (or polymers) of the more complex biomolecules.

An Overview of Functional Groups

Functional groups are what give biomolecules, such as carbohydrates and proteins, their chemical reactivity. This video explains the basic structure of some of the more common functional groups and how they relate to the different classes of biomolecules.

Linking and Unlinking Monomers and Polymers: Dehydration Synthesis and Hydrolysis

Functional groups not only determine the chemical characteristics of each of the major classes of biomolecules, they also provide a location by which individual biomolecules (such as monomers) can be linked to form longer chains. This is called a dehydration synthesis reaction because it involves the removal of water from the functional groups of two biomolecules to form a new bond.

The reverse reaction is called hydrolysis since it uses water to break the chemical bond connecting biomolecules to form larger polymers. The video below illustrates this process.

The next set of videos in this series will explore the basic characteristics of the major classes of biomolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.

 


 

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