Friday, September 26, 2014

Molecules, we eat them, we are them. pt1:Carbs

  I am going to start by talking about carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are one of the main source of energy used by plants and animals to do work. They have the general formula of C*(H*O)*  (*=# of atoms/group of atoms). Carbohydrates are considered alcohols due to the -OH groups, anything that has an -OH group is considered an alcohol.
  Carbohydrates have many uses to life. They are a source of stored energy that can be released in a way that organisms are able to use. They are used to transport energy in organisms. One of the more interesting aspects of carbohydrates is their ability to be used as structural molecules that give many organisms their shape as well as protection. Carbohydrates can even be used as recognition and signaling molecules that can trigger specific biological responses.

  The carbohydrates above are relatively small and are considered to be simple sugars. These simple sugars are called monosaccharides. Monosaccharides can be either five-carbon sugars (pentoses) or six-carbon sugars (hexoses). monosaccharides have the ability to polymerize and become even larger carbohydrates. Polymerization being the ability of certain molecules to become larger molecules such as the disaccharide sucrose. The monomers glucose and fructose can form a glycosidic link that creates the disaccharide sucrose shown bottom in the picture.
  Disaccharides,oligosaccharides,and polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides contain several monomers that are all attached with glycosidic linkages. Oligosaccharides can have additional functional groups that give them special properties that a monomer just would not possess.
  Polysaccharides are large polymers of monosaccharides connected by glycosidic linkages, and they are not exactly linear. Monomer has several sites that can form glycosidic linkages allowing for branching.

  Examples of polysaccharides:
Starches: a family of giant molecules that are all polysaccharides of glucose.
Glycogen: a water-insoluble, highly branched polymer of glucose. Glycogen is used as a the major form of energy storage in mammals. It is produced in the liver and transported to the muscles. Both starch and Glycogen can be readily hydrolyzed into glucose monomers which can be liberated of their energy. The reason why glycogen and starches are broken down the increase amount of osmotic pressure that the individual glucose molecule cause.

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