Thursday, November 8, 2007

Chemistry of Carbon

Today we learned about Carbon, which just reinforces the idea presented in Paiges post about how terrible Chemistry really is.

- All life is built on carbon. Cells are made up of 72% water, 25% carbon, and 3% Salt.

That is us, mostly made of water.
- And thats the carbon we're made of!
  • First off theres the BIG 4: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins, and Nucleic Acids
Carbon atoms are very versatile building blocks because they equally share electrons with hydrogen. They have 4 stable covalent bonds.

Hydrocarbons are combinations of carbon and hydrogen. They are non-polar, hydrophobic (fear of water), stable, and are gases at room temperatures. They are gases because there is no close attraction between the molecules so therefore they stay far apart.
  • Isomers: are molecules with the same molecular formula but different structures or shapes.
*Form affects function!*
Small structural differences can create important functional significance. For example the amino acid alanine has an L-version and a D-version. They are mirror images of each other and are called stereoisomers. In medicine, only the L-version is active and this is important to know because of tragic effects such as in the case of Thalidomide. It was intended to reduce morning sickness but instead caused severe birth defects in limb development.

Diversity of Molecules :
Substitute other atoms or groups around the carbon. Ethane can become Ethanol (alcohol) when an H is replaced by a hydroxyl group (-OH). This change makes ethane non-polar, and ethanol polar, and ethane a gas while ethanol is a liquid. Below is an example of what ethanol can do to you and your belly.

  • Functional Groups are parts of organic molecules that are involved in chemical reactions. These groups are hydroxyl, carbonyl, carboxyl, amino, sulfhydryl, and phosphate. These groups are all the difference in the case of female and males. They have the same carbon skeleton but different functional groups are attached and one becomes estrogen while the other is testosterone.

Macromolecules- smaller organic molecules join together to form larger molecules. The big 4 are the major classes of macromolecules.
-Polymers are long molecules built by linking repeating building blocks in a chain.
are small building blocks.

Building Polymers
  • Dehydration (Condensation) Synthesis: a water molecule is removed
  • - one monomer donates OH- and another donates H+, these two combine to form H2O
Breaking down Polymers
  • Digestion (Hydrolysis) - use H2O to break down polymers. The water is split into H+ and OH-
  • Requires Enzymes

Carbon are the building blocks of life, so I guess I dont hate them after all<3 Tom and the lunchbox are the next sherpas.

1 comment:

paige said...
This comment has been removed by the author.