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Carbon compounds
• Key questions
• What elements does carbon bond with to make up life’s molecules?
• What are the functions of each of the four groups of
Carbon compounds
• So what is the big deal about Carbon? Carbon even has
its own area of study---organic chemistry
• Carbon atoms have 4 valence electrons---what do you think this
means for the “importance” of Carbon?
Carbon compounds
• Because of their 4 valence electrons, Carbon atoms can
form strong covalent bonds with many other elements
• Carbon can bond with hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorous,
sulfur, and nitrogen to form compounds that are vital to life
• Carbon atoms can also bond to each other, which gives
carbon the ability to form chains that are almost unlimited
in length
Carbon-carbon bonds can be single, double, or triple covalent bonds.
Chains of carbon atoms can even close up on themselves to form rings
as seen in benzene
Carbon compounds
• Large organic molecules found in living things are called
• Most macromolecules are produced by a process called
polymerization---in which larger compounds are built by
joining smaller ones together
• The smaller units, or monomers, are joined together to form polymers
Carbon compounds
• The monomers in a polymer
may be identical or different
Carbon compounds
• Four major groups of macromolecules are found in living
• Carbohydrates
• lipids
• Nucleic acids
• proteins
Carbon compounds
• Examples of Carbohydrates
include sugar, starch, and
• Carbohydrates are made of
carbon, hydrogen, and
oxygen atoms
• Organisms use
carbohydrates to store and
release energy, as well as
for structural support and
Carbon compounds
• Complex carbohydrates: The macromolecules formed by
joining many monosaccharides (single sugar molecules)
together are known as polysaccharides
• Many animals store excess sugar in a polysaccharide
called glycogen
• When glucose in your blood runs low, glycogen is broken
down into glucose which is then released into the blood
• The glycogen stored in your muscles provides the energy
for muscle contraction
Carbon compounds
• Lipids are a large
varied group of
macromolecules that
are generally not
soluble in water. They
include fats, oils, and
• Lipids can be used to
store energy, and they
form important parts of
biological membranes
and waterproof
Carbon compounds
• Nucleotides are monomers that
consist of three components: 5carbon sugar, a phosphate group,
and a nitrogenous base
• Nucleic acids are polymers
assembled from nucleotides
• Individual nucleotides can be
joined by covalent bonds to form a
polynucleotide or nucleic acid
Carbon compounds
• There are two
types of nucleic
acids: ribonucleic
acid (RNA) and
acid (DNA)
• Nucleic acids
store and transmit
hereditary, or
Carbon compounds
• Proteins are macromolecules
containing nitrogen, carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen
• Proteins are polymers of molecules
called amino acids
• In addition to being the building
blocks of proteins, many amino
acids serve other purposes, such
as producing hormones to serve
as chemical messengers
Covalent bonds called
peptide bonds link
amino acids together
to form a polypeptide
Carbon compounds
• A protein is a functional
molecule built from one or more
• Some proteins function to
control the rate of reactions and
regulate cell processes. Others
form important cellular
structures, while still other
transport substances into or out
of cells to help fight disease
Hair and nails are made
from a tough protein called
Carbon compounds
• Amino acids are assembled into
polypeptide chains according
to instructions in DNA
• However, proteins are not linear.
Instead, the polypeptides bend
and twist into 3D shapes
• Scientists describe proteins as
having 4 levels of structure