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Biochemistry: The 6 Essential Elements of Life

Chemistry is an essential part of Biology. Understanding the basic building blocks of living things helps you understand the world of biology.

Julie Johnston

on 18 September 2012

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Transcript of Biochemistry: The 6 Essential Elements of Life

Biochemistry: The Chemistry of Biology All living things are made of the following basic elements:
Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, Sulfur Any molecule containing
is considered organic There are 2 inorganic molecules, they are:
water and carbon dioxide Lipid Protein Nucleic Acid Carbohydrates Water Most important inorganic
compound in most living things most cellular processes take place in water solutions dissolves other polar molecules (like salt) Adhesion - attraction between molecules of different substances (water sticks to a graduated cylinder) Cohesion - attraction between molecules of
same substance (water sticks to water) Is a polar molecule,
caused by an uneven distribution of electrons (both hydrogens on one end) Hydrogen bonds:
Attraction between
hydrogen and oxygen
atom (weak bond) Cohesion: attraction between molecules of the
same substance (ex: surface tension, water droplets) Adhesion: attraction between molecules of different substances (ex: meniscus, capillary action) There are 4 basic carbon
compounds(biomolecules)in all living things sugars, starches, cellulose short-term energy (4cal/gram) monosaccharides (single sugars)
disaccharides (double sugars)
polysaccharides (many sugars) Starch: a polysaccharide plants use
to store energy Glycogen: a polysaccharide animals use to store energy fats, oils, waxes,
phospholipids and steriods Long-term energy (9 cal/gram) non-polar molecules (won't dissolve in water) fats-act as insulators
waxes-prevent evaporation of water
from plant leaves and stems
oils-help to waterproof bird feathers,are part of a healthy diet
phospholipids- main component of cell membrane
steriods- hormones that affect activity made up of glycerol
and 3 fatty acids made up of amino acids (contain Nitrogen, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen) make up more than 1/2 the dry
weight of an organism Include:
enzymes-promote chemical reactions
antibodies-fight infection (kill bacteria)
hemoglobin-carries oxygen (in RBCs) to the body Functions include:
provide body with materials for growth and repair
builds muscles, skin and blood made up of nucleotides large complex molecules that contain hereditary information made up of nucleotides, containing a
sugar, phosphate and nitrogen base. 4 bases are:
Guanine DNA and RNA Organic molecules:
Nucleic Acids Plants join simple sugars to make-
CELLULOSE Cellulose is the main component of wood and cell wall of plants. We get it from eating veggies, fruits, grains and cereals (all plants)!! Saturated fats: have all single bonds between the carbons and a max number of hydrogen atoms in the fatty acids. (usually solid at room temperature and come from animal products) Unsaturated fats: have at least one carbon-carbon double bond in a fatty acid (usually liquid at room temperature, and come from plants) Monounsaturated: one double bond in the fatty acid.
Polyunsaturated: more than one double bond in the fatty acid. Complete: contain all 8 essential amino acids (food from animals)

Incomplete: lack some of the essential amino acids (food from plants)
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