A-level Biology/Biological & Molecular Structure

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In this "bite", we're looking at biological and molecular structure, which, in other words refers to what living things are made of. The main idea of this area is to help you understand what these particular biological parts do, and why they're important.

Motivation[edit | edit source]

The reason why biological molecules are interesting, is because when you're in real world, you see lots of things around you which work incredibly well. Most of the time, we use our body and don't even notice that we're using some incredibly fine-tuned mechanisms which are crammed together into our body. In this area, we're looking at what different types of molecules there are when we come to look at multi-cellular organisms, and how abouts they work.

So, the main questions we will be answering in this area will be...:

  • What makes up the main substances our body uses?
  • Why are these substances so important?
  • How harmoniously do these work with each other?

And.. the main things you should learn from this are:

  • Learn to use formula to calculate the processes of:
  • Condensation
  • Hydrolysis
  • Learn the usage and importance of:
  • Chromatography
  • Biochemical Tests

Carbohydrates[edit | edit source]

The factual accuracy of this module is disputed.

Ate the suffix -ate means there is a hidden oxygen group

As you may know, carbohydrates are the things we get when we eat non-meat stuff like potatoes. They can be as simple as table sugar and as complex as amylopectin and other starches. Now, what's with the name? Carb-o-hydrates? Well, as you can see in the figure on the left, carbohydrates are made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.

Now, there's more to these carbohydrate things. There are usually 3 different forms of carbohydrates, and they sound suspiciously like the things found in in butter. If you're having trouble remembering these, try to think of them as a sack race between Polly (poly), Disa and Mono (Sack-a-rides - saccharides);

  • Monosaccharides - simple one sugared molecules
  • Disaccharides - two sugared molecules
  • Polysaccharides - many sugared molecules

Now, the reason WHY there are these types of carbohydrate, and it's because they are formed in different circumstances, and they're named due to their molecular structure.

See also[edit | edit source]