Carbon is specifically noteworthy element in living systems. The chemistry the carbon, necessary chemistry, is a finish study unto itself. We will touch on number of highlights that will certainly be beneficial in succeeding sections.

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The Uniqueness the Carbon

The carbon atom has four valence (outermost) electrons. Therefore unique configuration, it is simpler for the carbon atom to share its four electrons with an additional atom or atoms 보다 to shed or gain 4 electrons. Since each carbon is identical, they every have four valence electrons, for this reason they can conveniently bond with various other carbon atom to type long chain or rings. In fact, a carbon atom can bond with one more carbon atom 2 or three times come make dual and triple covalent bonds in between two carbon atoms. Long chains that carbon atom with dual and triple bonds space quite typical in biology.

Carbon"s propensity toward covalent bonding through itself generates 3 unique features that develop a vast array the compounds, consisting of those important to construct and also support life:


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Carbon come carbon (C-C) bonds form the backbone of every biomolecules and can incorporate thousands the C-C bonds.


The single bond that connects carbon atoms to carbon atom is fairly strong, so the subsequent long chains and ring structures room not fragile. The carbon-carbon covalent bonding sample satisfies the Octet rule, do carbon compounds unwilling come react. Since carbon has 4 valence electrons and also needs eight to fulfill the Octet rule, it deserve to bond through up come four extr atoms, creating many compound possibilities.

Functional Groups

In the most basic terms, the reactive component of any compound is referred to as the practical group. Generally a functional group is a arsenal of atoms that operates as one reactive unit and also is additionally the component of the molecule involved in a chemistry reaction. Conversely, carbon-to-carbon bonds room nonreactive, the instability the the functional teams drives chemical reactions that involve secure carbon-based compounds. For simplicity and also reference, three functional groups are presented:

Amine is determined by a central nitrogen atom that has three bonds, typically to hydrogen atoms. Amine groups type the basis because that amino acids, which when bonded together form proteins. A Carboxylic group (COOH) is attached come the long carbon chains that type fatty acid molecules, which room a type of lipid lipids. Hydroxyl teams (OH) are very reactive. They are a component of alcohols, such together ethanol, the alcoholic ingredient of adult beverages. The oxygen-hydrogen combination is distinctive to this functional group and easily identifies it as an alcohol.

Dehydration Synthesis and also Polymer Formation


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A hydration reaction is the reverse of a dehydration reaction in the water serves together a reactant to split apart huge poly-molecules.


Polymers are little molecules that can be bonded together to create larger molecules. Facility carbohydrates room made from small simple sugars joined together, and giant protein molecule are merely a collection of smaller amino mountain molecules external inspection together. The prefix poly identifies this type of molecular addition. Because that instance, polysaccharides are large carbohydrates created of multiple saccharide (sugar) units.

The chemical reaction the powers polymer formation is recognized by numerous names, including dehydration synthesis and also condensation reaction. Regardless of the name, the molecules space joined by bonding sites created when a positively charged hydrogen ion (H+) is lost from one molecule and also a negatively charged hydroxide (OH-) ion is shed from a bordering molecule. The H+ and OH- incorporate to kind water. So a dehydration synthesis join two smaller units together with the ns of one water molecule.


Excerpted indigenous The finish Idiot"s guide to biology 2004 by valley E. Moulton, Ed.D.. All rights reserved consisting of the best of reproduction in whole or in component in any form. Supplied by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member the Penguin group (USA) Inc.

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