Beginners Guide to MACROMOLECULES

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What are macromolecules?

You may also hear the term biomolecules to describe these large molecules. 

Cells of animals and most living organisms have four main macromolecules that help keep their cells alive and functioning properly.

The four main macromolecules,

  • carbohydrates

  • proteins

  • lipids

  • nucleic acids.

A macromolecule is a large molecule formed when elements and molecules bond together.

Elements like hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphate join together to make up macromolecules.

Each macromolecule is unique and made up of many smaller molecules.

Carbohydrates are composed of three elements, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1 to 2 to 1 ratio

For example, look at the makeup of glucose C6O12H6

Carbohydrates store energy and provide structural support. 

Examples of carbohydrates include sugars and starches. 

Carbohydrates provide quick energy for humans.

Lipids are macromolecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Some of them also contain nitrogen and phosphorus. Technically a lipid is not a macromolecule, but in biochemistry, it is grouped with macromolecules.

Lipids are fats, waxes, phospholipids, and steroids.

Lipids help make cell membranes and are great at storing energy.

Proteins are large chains of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids used in your body. Your RNA carries instructions to the ribosomes which instruct the ribosome the correct order of the amino acids. These proteins carry out many jobs in the cell.

Your body has hundreds of proteins. Some help with communication, other help with transportation, 

For example, the protein amylase which is found in your saliva helps break down food.

Collagen is a protein that helps bind skin cells together.

Nucleic Acids are long chains of nucleotides.

They are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphate.

Examples include DNA deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA ribonucleic acid.

Nucleic acids are important because they contain important genetic information and help transfer hereditary or genetic information. 

In summary,

Macromolecules are large molecules.

There are four main macromolecules

lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.

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