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TOPIC 1 : BIOLOGICAL MOLECULES

1.1 Water 1.2 Carbohydrates 1.3 Lipids 1.4 Proteins 1.5 Nucleic Acids 1.6 Analytical techniques

1.1 WATER

Water / H2O Chemical Properties of Water Physical Properties of Water

Chemical Properties of Water


1. Water molecule (H2O ) is composed of 2 hydrogen atoms & 1 oxygen atom. 2. Two H atoms attached to an O2 atom at an angle of 104.5o . Each H atom shares a pair of electrons with the O2 atom to 2 covalent bonds. O-H covalent bond (within molecule) hydrogen bond (between molecule) 3. Water molecule is a polar compound (due to an uneven charge distribution within the molecule) . Hydrogen atoms : slightly +ve Oxygen atom : slightly ve O2 atom draws the electrons in the bond towards itself, giving itself a partial ve charge relative to the H atom.

Water Molecule

Hydrogen bonds

Structure of water molecule, a polar molecule

4. A universal solvent to dissolve ionic

substances like salts, which contain charged ions & some non-ionic substances such as sugars that contain polar groups. This substances have OH, -COOH, -NH2, -CO- and PO4 groups. Water molecules can surround polar groups after weakening & separating inter-molecular or inter-ionic bonds within a substance such as in sodium chloride .

Ionic compounds dissociate in water

5. Sucrose, an organic substance is soluble in water as water molecules interact & surround the sugar molecules breaking down their inter-molecular bonds. Water molecules are linked through hydrogen bonds. 6. Water is a liquid at room temperature. Each molecule of water can form a maximum of four such bonds with different molecules of water. Under room temperature, about 20% hydrogen bonds exist in water. The lower the temperature, the more hydrogen bonds are formed.

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6. At 0 oC, it freezes where all the molecules are involved in forming the three-dimensional structure of ice. This explains why ice expands when it is formed and has a lower density. Example : ice floats on water. 7. Because of the chemical properties, the physiological roles of water : (a) Provides a medium for reactions to take place. (b) Acts as a solvent to transport substances in the blood of animals, or in xylem and phloem of plants.

(c) Water ionises and acts as substrates for photolysis during photosynthesis and hydrolysis reactions during digestion of food. (d) Water interacts with macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids and molecules in the lipoprotein membrane structure. Water molecules surround these macromolecules making their structures more stable and maintaining their three dimensional structures to perform their functions.

Physical Properties of Water


1. Water has a high specific heat capacity of 4.2kJ/K/kg, which means 4.2 kJ of heat is required to raise the temperature by 1 K for 1 kg of water. A large amount of heat is required to cause a slight increase in temperature as much of the energy is used in breaking the hydrogen bonds which restrict the movement of the molecules. Physiological roles : Enable water temperature in cells or in the surrounding of the aquatic organisms to remain relatively constant. Water is a good temperature buffer.

Physical Properties of Water


2. Water has a high latent heat of vaporisation of 2260 kJ/kg, that is 2260 kJ of heat is required to vaporise 1 kg of water. Physiological roles : a) Enable many land invertebrates to survive. b) Lower our body temperature when we sweat. c) Panting helps to rid the body of excessive heat in dogs and birds. Effective to cool body temperature. d) Lower temperature of leaves .

Evaporative Cooling of Animals

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Physical Properties of Water


3. Density or specific gravity of water is highest at 4oC. E.g. Ice floats on water and insulates the water below. Physiological roles : a) Enable aquatic organisms to survive during winter or in the tundra ocean. b) Nutrients circulate in the lake,helping colonisation of organisms into greater depth. When the atmospheric temperature decreases, the surface water sinks at 4oC. When the temperature of the water at the bottom increases after winter, water moves up bringing soluble salts along.

Density of Water at Various Temperatures

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A Pond in Winter

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Physical Properties of Water


4. Water has a high cohesive force. A high attractive force that exists among water molecules due to the hydrogen bonds. Physiological roles : a) Creates a transpirational pull in the xylem vessels when evaporation occurs in the leaves. It helps to transport water & mineral ions up into the leaves for photosynthesis. b) Cohesion & adhesion of water molecules enable water to stay in the upper layer of soil called topsoil. Good quality soil of fine grain sizes together with humus retain the right amount of water so that plants and other soil organisms can live well in it.

Physical Properties of Water


Cohesion Cohesion Hydrogen bonds hold water molecules tightly together Adhesion Adhesion Hydrogen bonds for between water and other polar materials Allow water be drawn many meters up a tree in a tubular vessel

Water as a Transport Medium

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Physical Properties of Water


5. Water has a high surface tension. There is a strong inward pull of water forming a skin-like layer at the surface of water. It is caused by the high cohesive forces of water molecules as a result of hydrogen bonding. Physiological roles : a) Create a habitat on the water surface. Allow insects to stay on the surface where they can gather food or catch their preys like water-skaters. b) Allow female mosquitoes to stand on water to lay eggs. Allow the tiny eggs to float & larvae to attach to the surface for their syphons to breathe air.

Water skater

THE IMPORTANT PROPERTIES OF WATER


Water as universal solvent and lubricant in joints

Water dissolves many substances by surrounding charged particles and pulling them into solution
Viscosity of water (low; movement) Specific heat capacity (temperature) Latent heat of evaporation of water (cooling effect) Surface tension (transportation) Density (freezing-free)

Questions
1. Which of the following properties of water are not important or the functions of human plasma? I Good solvent II High heat capacity III Highest density at 4oC IV Low viscosity V High surface tension A. I and II C. III and V B. II and IV D. I, II and V

Questions
2. Which of the following contributes the most to the polar nature of the water molecule? [2008] A. Polar substances are able to dissolve in water. B. Oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen. C. The angle between hydrogen atoms is 104.3o. D. Hydrogen is bonded by covalent bonds with oxygen.

3. What are other properties of water that are important to organisms?

1.2 Carbohydrates Monosaccharide Disaccharides Polysaccharides

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