2 3 carbon based molecules
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2.3 Carbon Based Molecules

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2.3 Carbon Based Molecules. KEY CONCEPT Carbon-based molecules are the foundation of life. Carbon atoms have unique bonding properties. Carbon forms covalent bonds with up to four other atoms, including other carbon atoms. Carbon-based molecules have three general types of structures .

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carbon atoms have unique bonding properties
Carbon atoms have unique bonding properties.
  • Carbon forms covalent bonds with up to four other atoms, including other carbon atoms.
  • Carbon-based molecules have three general types of structures.
    • Straight Chain
    • Branched Chain
    • Ring

Many carbon-based molecules are made of many small subunits bonded together.

    • Monomers are the individual subunits.
    • Polymers are made of many monomers.
Formation of Macromolecules
  • Molecules are formed between monomers when a water molecule is lost
  • Called condensation reaction or dehydration synthesis
formation of macromolecules cont
Formation of Macromolecules cont.

Polymers are disassembled (broken up) into monomers by hydrolysis, a process that is essentially the reverse of the dehydration reaction.

  • Hydrolysis means “to break with water”. Bonds between monomers are broken by the addition of water molecules.
b four main types of carbon based molecules are found in living things
B. Four main types of carbon-based molecules are found in living things.
  • 1. Carbohydrates
    • Aka sugars
    • Made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
      • Structure 1:2:1



***Dehydration synthesis


Carbohydrates include sugars and starches.

  • 3 types
    • Monosaccharides (MONOMERS) are simple sugars.
    • Disaccharides are two sugars.
    • Polysaccharides many sugars, include starches, cellulose, and glycogen
glucose fructose and galactose monosaccharides
Glucose, Fructose, and Galactose(Monosaccharides)


  • Made during photosynthesis
  • Main source of energy for plants and animals


  • Found naturally in fruits
  • Is the sweetest of monosaccharides


  • Found in milk
  • Is usually in association with glucose or fructose

Disaccharide – two monosaccharide bonded together

  • Table sugar (sucrose) = made up of glucose + fructose bonded together
  • Milk sugar (lactose) = made up of glucose + galactose bonded together

Polysaccharide = more than two monosaccharide bonded together by glycosidic bonds

  • Serve as storage material or building material
    • Storage (examples: starch, glycogen)
    • Structural (examples: cellulose, chitin)

A complex carbohydrate is a polysaccharide with 12 or more monosaccharide units.

  • Pasta and starches are polysaccharides
    • Potatoes are a starch

Polymer (starch)

Starch is a polymer of glucose monomers that often has a branched structure.

Polymer (cellulose)

Cellulose is a polymer of glucose monomers that has a straight, rigid structure


  • Carbohydrates can be broken down to provide energy for cells.
  • Some carbohydrates are part of cell structure.


  • Elements C, H and O
  • Nonpolar molecules – will not mix with water – Hydrophobic
  • Not soluble
  • Include fats, oils, and cholesterol
    • MonomerGlycerol and 3 Fatty Acids – carbon chains bonded to hydrogen
      • Triglycerides
    • Fats and oils contain fatty acids bonded to glycerol.

Used to store energy for long term

  • Make up cell membranes
  • Used to make hormones
  • Waterproof coverings
  • Lipids have several different functions.

Saturated fatty acids

    • Carbons single bonded
    • Come from animals / Clog arteries
  • Unsaturated fatty acids
    • Double bonded carbon atoms
    • Do not come from animals / Don’t clog arteries
  • Fats and oils have different types of fatty acids.

At room temperature, the molecules of an unsaturated fat cannot pack together closely enough to solidify because of the kinks in their fatty acid tails.

At room temperature, the molecules of a saturated fat are packed closely together, forming a solid.



  • Phospholipids make up all cell membranes.
  • Polar phosphate “head”
  • Nonpolar fatty acid “tails”
3. Proteins
  • Majority of processes in body occur because of proteins
  • Polymers of amino acid monomers
  • Made of Elements C, H, O, N
  • 20 different amino acids are used to build proteins in organisms.
  • Amino acids made of 3 functional groups
    • Amine NH2
    • R group
    • Carboxyl - COOH

hydrogen bond


  • Proteins differ in the number and order of amino acids.
    • Amino acids interact to give a protein its shape.
    • Incorrect amino acids change a protein’s structure and function.

What are some functions of proteins?

  • 4 Types of Proteins & their function in the body:
    • Regulatory (ex: Enzymes)
      • Controls the rate of reactions in your body
    • Transport (ex: Hemoglobin transports O2)
      • Sending nutrients to different parts of the body
    • Structural (ex: collagen, found in skin and bones)
      • Forms/ makes up different parts of the body
    • Protective (ex: antibodies protect against disease)
      • Makes cells that act as fighters for the body
4 nucleic acids
4. Nucleic Acids
  • Stores and transmits genetic information
  • Made of the Elements C, H, N, O, & P
  • Two types:
    • DNA
    • RNA
  • are polymers of monomers called Nucleotides

nitrogen-containing molecule,called a base

A phosphate group

deoxyribose (sugar)

  • Nucleotides are made of:
    • 5 carbon sugar
    • Phosphate group
    • Nitrogenous base



  • DNA stores genetic information
  • RNA builds proteins
  • Transports DNA info from nucleus to other cell parts.