1. Biological molecules: Biochemistry and metabolism

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  • Biochemistry and metabolism
    • You are what you eat
      • The nutrients any organism takes in builds and maintains a healthy body
        • they becomes part of the body after being broken down into smaller pieces (digested), then rebuilt to form the different parts of the organism
          • they are also used to provide the energy needed to drive metabolism (living processes)
            • if neither of these can occur, they are removed from the body
      • Organisms are adapted to remove substances in a variety of ways
        • e.g. the intestines are adapted to work best when indigestible fibre is present in food, it eases the flow of materials through the gut giving gut muscles a bulk to push against
      • Fibre also helps to remove some waste products, a diet low in fibre is a risk factor for a number of diseases
      • A risk factor is a factor that increases your chance of developing a particular disease
    • The nutrients requires
      • Carbohydrates- energy storage and supply, structure (in some organisms)
        • Proteins - structure, transport, enzymes, antibodies, most hormones
      • Lipids - membranes, energy supply, thermal insulation, protective layers/padding, electrical insulation in neurones, some hormones
        • Vitamins & minerals - Form parts of some larger molecules and take part in some metabolic reactions, some act as co-enzymes or enzyme activators
        • Nucleic acids - information molecules, carry instructions for life
      • Water - takes part in many reactions, support in plants, solvent/medium for most metabolic reactions, transport
    • Biological molecules
      • The key biological molecules are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.
      • The chemical elements found in the biological molecules are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These elements make up over 90% of all organisms
      • A few  biological molecules also contain some phosphorus or sulfur. Minerals including magnesium, iron and iodine are considered seperately
      • Water is sometimes called a biological molecule because of its importance to life
    • Biochemistry & metabolism
      • Biochemistry refers to the chemical reactions involving biological molecuels
        • e.g. level of enzymes in the blood
      • Metabolism refers to the sum total of all the chemical reactions that take place in an organism
        • these reactions may be involved in breaking larger molecules into smaller ones - catabolic reactions e.g. digestion
          • Reactions that involve building smaller molecules into larger ones - anabolic reactions e.g. muscle growth
    • Carbon is very special
      • All the biological molecules (except water) are carbon-based
        • carbon atoms can bond together to form long chains and rings,
          • it is also possible to bond other atoms to the chains and rings to form many different molecules with different structures and properties
            • because of this multiple-bonding feature, carbon is a kind framework atom that can form the basis of all the biological molecules necessary for life

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