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AS Biology Unit 1 page 1
AQA AS Biology Unit 1
Specification 2
Biological Molecules Chemical bonds 4
Carbohydrates 6
Lipids 8
Proteins 10
Biochemical Tests 16
Enzymes 17
Cells Eukaryotic Cells 24
Prokaryotic Cells 28
Cell Fractionation 30
Microscopy 31
The Cell Membrane 35
Movement across Cell Membranes 37
Human Physiology Exchange 44
The Gas Exchange System 46
Lung Diseases 50
The Heart 54
Coronary Heart Disease 58
The Digestive System 60
Cholera 67
Disease Lifestyle and Disease 68
Defence against Disease 72
Immunisation 80
Monoclonal Antibodies 81
Appendices 1 ­ Mathematical Requirements 83
2­ The Unit 1 Exam 86
These notes may be used freely by A level biology students and teachers,
and they may be copied and edited.
Please do not use these materials for commercial purposes.
I would be interested to hear of any comments and corrections.
Neil C Millar ([email protected])
Head of Biology, Heckmondwike Grammar School
High Street, Heckmondwike, WF16 0AH
July 2011
HGS Biology A-level notes NCM/7/11

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AS Biology Unit 1 page 2
Biology Unit 1 Specification
Biochemistry The structure of prokaryotic cells to include cell wall,
Biological Molecules plasma membrane, capsule, circular DNA, flagella and
Biological molecules such as carbohydrates and plasmid.
proteins are often polymers and are based on a small
number of chemical elements. Microscopes and Cell Fractionation
· Proteins have a variety of functions within all living The difference between magnification and resolution.
organisms. The general structure of an amino acid.…read more

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AS Biology Unit 1 page 3
Heart with trialling improved oral rehydration solutions on
Heart structure and function. The gross structure of humans.
the human heart and its associated blood vessels in
relation to function. Myogenic stimulation of the heart Disease
and transmission of a subsequent wave of electrical Lifestyle and Disease
activity. Roles of the sinoatrial node (SAN), Disease may be caused by infectious pathogens or may
atrioventricular node (AVN) and bundle of His. reflect the effects of lifestyle.…read more

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Biological Molecules
Living things are made up of thousands and thousands of different chemicals. These chemicals are called
organic because they contain the element carbon. In science organic compounds contain carbon­carbon
bonds, while inorganic compounds don't. There are four important types of organic molecules found in
living organisms: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids (DNA). These molecules are mostly
polymers, very large molecules made up from very many small molecules, called monomers.…read more

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Life on Earth evolved in the water, and all life still depends on water. At least 80% of the total mass of living
organisms is water. Water molecules are charged, with the oxygen atom being slightly negative (-) and the
hydrogen atoms being slightly positive (+). These opposite charges attract each other, forming hydrogen
bonds that bind water molecules loosely together.…read more

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Carbohydrates contain only the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The group includes monomers,
dimers and polymers, as shown in this diagram:
Monosaccharides Disaccharides Polysaccharides
(monomers) (dimers) (polymers)
e.g. glucose, fructose, e.g. sucrose, e.g. starch,
galactose maltose, lactose cellulose, glycogen
These all have the formula (CH2O)n, where n can be 3-7. The most common and important
monosaccharide is glucose, which is a six-carbon or hexose sugar, so has the formula C6H12O6.…read more

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Disaccharides are formed when two monosaccharides are joined together by a glycosidic bond (C­O­C).
The reaction involves the formation of a molecule of water (H2O):
H 2O
glycosidic bond
This shows two glucose molecules joining together to form the disaccharide maltose. This kind of reaction,
where two molecules combine into one bigger molecule, is called a condensation reaction.…read more

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Lipids are a mixed group of hydrophobic compounds composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen
and sometime phosphorus (CHOP). The most common lipids are triglycerides and phospholipids.
Triglycerides, or triacylglycerols, are made of glycerol and fatty acids.
Glycerol is a small, 3-carbon molecule with
three alcohol (OH) groups.…read more

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· If the fatty acid chains in a triglyceride have no C=C double bonds, then they
are called saturated fatty acids (i.e. saturated with hydrogen). Triglycerides
with saturated fatty acids have a high melting point and tend to be found in
warm-blooded animals. At room temperature they are solids (fats), e.g. butter,
lard.…read more

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AS Biology Unit 1 page 10
Proteins are the most complex and most diverse group of biological compounds. They have an astonishing
range of different functions, as this list shows.
structure e.g. collagen (bone, cartilage, tendon), keratin (hair), actin (muscle)
enzymes e.g. amylase, pepsin, catalase, etc (>10,000 others)
transport e.g. haemoglobin (oxygen), transferrin (iron)
pumps e.g. Na+K+ pump in cell membranes
motors e.g. myosin (muscle), kinesin (cilia)
hormones e.g. insulin, glucagon
receptors e.g. rhodopsin (light receptor in retina)
antibodies e.g. immunoglobulins
storage e.g.…read more


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