Molecules to metabolism 2.1

The structure of living organisms can be partly explained by the molecules which they are made from. Live is based on carbon because the way in which carbon atoms form covalent bonds is central to the structure of the molecules which make up the bodies of all animals, plants and bacteria.

Key concepts

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Essentials

These slides summarise the essential understanding and skills in this topic. 
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Summary

Summary list for 2.1 Molecules to metabolism

Carbon based compounds

  • Molecular biology is explaining biological processes in terms of the chemicals involved.
  • There is a diversity of Carbon based compounds in living things because carbon atoms can form four covalent bonds.
    e.g. carbohydrates, lipids, proteins & nucleic acids.
  • All the enzyme-catalysed reactions in a cell make up its metabolism. There are two types:
    • Anabolism: forming macromolecules from monomers by condensation.
    • Catabolism: breaking complex macromolecules into simpler molecules by hydrolysis.
  • Some biological compounds can be synthesised outside of living things: e.g. urea.

Skills in drawing molecules

  • Draw diagrams of:
    • αD-glucose & βD-glucose.
    • D-ribose.
    • a fatty acid.
    • an amino acid with generalised R-group.
  • Identification of biochemicals from diagrams to include:
    • monosaccharides.
    • disaccharides.
    • lipids (triglycerides, phospholipids and steroids)
    • amino acids.
    • polypeptides and peptide bonds.
  • Knowledge of the Benedicts reagent test for reducing sugars and iodine to test for starch.

Mindmaps

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Exam style questions

The ability to draw monosaccharide molecules is an important skill in this topic.

Answer the question below, on a piece of paper, then check your answer against the model answer below.

The image shows a diagram of deoxyribose which is a molecule made from five carbon molecules.

Outline the structure of deoxyribose and how it is different from the structure of αD-glucose.
(A labelled diagram may be used in the answer). [4]

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Extra exam question

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Test yourself

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Just for fun

Everyone needs something a bit light hearted from time to time when revising. That's the aim of this last activity.
Molecules to metabolism arcade games