One of the fundamental ideas in Biology is
that all living things are made of CELLS.
Each part of a cell is made up of lots of small
(nonliving) building blocks called ATOMS.
These are divided into two broad categories:
OrganicCompounds- are easy to identify
because they must contain the element
Carbon is known as the building block of life
because ALL living things contain carbon.
Compounds- do not contain the
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the main exception to
this rule. It contains Carbon, but is classified as
PRODUCERS – such as plants are able to
make their own organic compounds from
inorganic compounds through photosynthesis
(the chemical equation is seen below).
Carbon Dioxide + Water + Sunlight ® Glucose +
6 CO2 + 6 H2O + Solar energy ® C6H12O6 + 6 O2
Inorganic Inorganic Organic
CONSUMERS- such as humans must get
the building blocks to grow and survive
from the food that we eat (i.e. plants or
Glucose + Oxygen -> Carbon Dioxide +Water + Cell Energy
C6H12O6 + 6 O2 ® 6CO2 + 6 H2O + ATP
Organic Inorganic Inorganic Inorganic
If we know that today, almost all organic compounds are only
formed by living things, then the question became – how
did the first organic compounds form?
Alexander Oparin –
A. He hypothesized that in the oxygen free
environment (anaerobic) of primitive earth, it
would have been possible for inorganic
molecules to combine and form organic
molecules (abiotically – without a living
A. They simulated the conditions thought to be
around in early Earth’s atmosphere.
B. To do this they sealed several simple
(inorganic) gasses plus water in a closed glass
chamber. Periodically they ignited a spark (to
C. At the bottom of the collection chamber they
found Amino Acids which had formed on their
own. The formation of this organic compound
supported Oparin’s hypothesis.
D. Further research has shown how similar
conditions could produce two other important
organic compounds that are found in RNA ( part
of your genetic code).
Miller and Urey’s experiment provides
support for the idea that conditions on
lifeless, ‘primordial’ Earth could have
allowed the spontaneous formation of more
complex (organic) molecules
Since the conditions on Earth are now very
different, we do not see the same reactions
MONOMER: A single compound or building block
used to make a larger compound.
POLYMER: Many monomers joined together to form
a large compound.
the process joining
compunds together to make large compounds
Macromolecules: large molecules made
when polymers join together
DehydrationSynthesis: The process of
combining small compounds to form large
compounds and water molecules
Hydrolysis:Breaking down a larger
compound (polymers) into smaller pieces
Enzymes and water are needed to break the
Contains the elements carbon, hydrogen and
Three main functions
Provide Energy for body (Glucose: C6H12O6)
Plays a role in the cell membrane
Monosaccharide: ONE simple sugar
Ex. Glucose and fructose
Disaccharide: TWO monosaccharides bonded
Ex. Sucrose (which is a glucose bonded to a
(or complex carbodydrates):
MANY simple sugars bonded together
Ex. Cellulose (which forms the cell wall of plants
and gives structural support to plant cells).
Animals (mammals) store excess sugar as
GLYCOGEN (a polysaccharide)
Plants store an excess of sugar (glucose) in the
form of STARCH (a polysaccharide).
Glucose is the primary product of photosynthesis (the
base of our energy source)
Also known as fats, oils and waxes.
Fats are SOLID at room temperature and come
Oils are LIQUID at room temperature and come
Fatty acids and glycerol are the monomers
(building blocks) of lipids
Both types of monomer are made up of
carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms
A triglyceride is a lipid made up of 3 fatty
acids bonded to one GLYCEROL which makes
it a polymer.
Most lipids are (non-polar) not soluble in
water (think about when you mix oil and
Long term ENERGY storage (more energy
per gram than in carbs and proteins)
Forms barrier around all cells
Chemical MESSENGER (ex. Hormones
such as testosterone and estrogen)
INSULATION (ex. Blubber on a whale)
WATERPROOFING (ex. Cuticle- the waxy
layer on the leaves of plants)
Contains the element carbon, hydrogen, oxygen
Monomers of proteins are AMINO ACIDS. There
are 20 different amino acids. Different
combinations of these amino acids are what
makes each protein different.
Polymers are polypeptide chains (or protein)
held together by PEPTIDE bonds.
A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A. A.A.
Structural Component of cell membrane,
hair and fingernails
Helps chemical reactions occur faster
while needing less energy (these types of
proteins are known as ENZYMES)
Allows for large or charged particles to
cross into a cell through the cell
Allow for MOVEMENT of the organism
i.e. muscles, cilia and flagella
The AMINO group, which is NH2 on the left
The CARBOXYL group –COOH (sometimes
called the acid group) on the right
The R group
(the only difference between all amino acids is the R group (R is not an
element, but rather a symbol that represents the different elements or
group of elements that can be put in its place)
H H O
H-N C C-OH
Amino Group R Carboxyl Group
Nucleic acids main function is to store
cellular information in the form of a code.
These codes are important in the
manufacturing of proteins for the cells.
Composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen,
nitrogen and phosphorus atoms.
Monomers of nucleic acids are called
Polymers of nucleic acids are DNA and
Acid) is like the cell’s
cookbook. It contains
all the instructions (or
recipes) that each
cell needs to survive.
Acid) is like a
single recipe. The
purpose of RNA is
MESSAGES, such as
the instructions for