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Structure of Amino Acids

Amino acids are the basic units which combine to make up a polymer called a polypeptide.

Polypeptides can be combined to form proteins.

Every amino acid has a central carbon atom to which four different chemical groups are attached.

Every amino acid contains carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and some contain sulphur.


The 'R' group can be a variety of different chemical groups; every amino acid has a different R group.

The formation of a Peptide Bond

Amino acid monomers combine to form a dipeptide in a condensation reaction.


The water comes from the OH of the carboxylic acid part and the H from the amino part.

The two amino acids join by a new peptide bond between the carbon atom of one amino acid and the nitrogen atom of the other.

This peptide bond can be broken by hydrolysis.

The Primary Structure of Proteins - Polypeptides

A chain of hundreds of amino acids can combine together in polymerisation to form a polypeptide.

The sequence of amino acids in


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