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"Chemistry of Life" Ch. 1-5


anything that takes up space and has mass; can be in rock, metal, oil, gases


substance that cannot be broken down by chemical reactions


2 or more different elements combined in fixed ratio (ex. salt)


smallest unit of matter that retains properties of an element


subatomic particle that has a neutral charge


subatomic particle that has a positive charge


subatomic particle that has a negative charge

covalent bond

sharing a pair of valence electrons by two atoms


two or more atoms held together by covalent bonds

single bond

pair of single covalent bond

double bond

double covalent bond


bonding capacity of an atom


the attraction of a particular kind of atom for the electrons of a covalent bond; more electronegative an atom, the more strongly it pulls shared electrons towards itself

nonpolar covalent bond

bond where electrons are shared equally

polar covalent bond

bon where one atom is bonded to a more electronegative atom, the electrons are not shared equally

ionic bond

cations and anions attract each other; bond where two atoms are so unequal in their attraction for valence electrons that the more electronegative atom strips an electron completely away from its partner.


an electrically charged molecule or atom


ion's charge is positive


ion's charge is negative

ionic compounds

also known as salts; compounds formed by ionic bonds

hydrogen bonds

bond that forms when a hydrogen atom covalently bonded to one electronegative atom is also attracted to another electronegative atom

van de Waals interactions

weak bonds that occur only when atoms and molecules are very close together


different atomic forms; radioactive form where nucleus decays spontaneously

polar molecule

two ends of molecule have opposite charges


linkage that makes water more structured than other liquids; holds substance together; related to adhesion and surface tension


clinging of one substance to another

moderation of temperature

water absorbs heat from warm air and releases air that is cooler; heated water equates to the increase in molecules' speed; water has HIGH SPECIFIC HEAT

insulation of bodies of water

in floating ice water is less dense as a solid; hydrogen gains four partners; water expands

solvent of life

water dissolves a variety of solutes; known also as an aqueous solution


substance that increases the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution


substance that reduces the hydrogen ion concentration

pH scale

acid not only adds hydrogen ions to solution but removes hydroxide ions
• 1 = battery acid (more acidic), 14 oven cleaner (less acidic)
• More hydrogen ions = more acidic
• More basic/more hydroxide ions = less acidic
• Each pH unit is a 10 fold difference
• Buffers - minimize changes in the concentrations


belief in a new life force outside jurisdiction of physical and chemical laws


tested whether complex organic molecules arise spontaneously = abiotic synthesis of organic compounds could have been an early stage in origin of life

organic chemistry

study of carbon compounds


6 electrons; Acts as intersection point from which a molecule can branch off in as many as four directions: 4 or more atoms = tetrahedral shape, 2 atoms always a double bond; frequent partners oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen


carbon + hydrogen; attached to carbon skeleton wherever electrons are available for covalent bonding


long hydrocarbon tails that attach to non hydrocarbon component; CAN UNDERGO REACTIONS THAT RELEASE ENERGY!!


Compounds that have same # of atoms of the same elements but different structures and properties; can be structural, geometric


isomers that are mirror images of each other
• Arranged in different ways that mirror
• Right and left hand versions
• one is active, one is inactive


three phosphates + adenosine; phosphate may be split as a reaction with water


long molecule consisting of similar or identical blocks, linked my covalent bonds

condensation reaction

two molecules are covalently bonded through LOSS of WATER MOLECULE; also known as a dehydration reaction facilitated by enzymes


polymers are disassembled to monomers, reversal of dehydration reaction and is more extensive
o Bonds are broken down by addition of water


serve as fuel; include sugars and polymers of sugars; simplest are monosaccharides, then disaccharides and polysaccharides


some multiple unit of CH20
o Glucose with multiple hydroxyl groups and a carbonyl group
• Can be aldose or ketose
• Fructose
o Arrangement of parts around asymmetric carbons
o Major nutrient


two monosaccharides joined by a glycosidic linkage

glycosidic linkage

when a sugar is covalently bond is formed by a dehydration reaction


Macromolecules with a few hundred monosaccharides joined by glycosidic linkage


polysaccharide that is extensively branched and is stored in liver and muscle; hydrolysis releases glucose for use but is easily depleted


mix poorly with water; mostly hydrocarbon regions, include waxes and pigments as well as fats, phospholipids, and steroids


• Constructed from glycerol and fatty acids
• Fatty acid has a long carbon skeleton 16-18 in length, non polar C-H bonds in chains
• THREE FATTY ACID MOLECULES join glycerol to make an ester linkage

saturated fatty acid

no double bonds between carbon atoms composing the chain
o lack double bonds
o found in animal fat

unsaturated fatty acid

one on more double bonds; formed by removal of hydrogen atoms in the skeleton
o found in Fish, plant


• THEY ARE essential because they make up the CELL MEMBRANE
• Two fatty acids attached to a glycerol rather than three


lipid composed of four carbon rings that look like chicken wire; ex. cholesterol


composed of chains of amino acids (one or more polypeptides; folded into a three dimensional structure)
• Speed up chemical reacts, or play a role in structural support
• Enzymatic proteins regulate metabolism
o Catalysts = chemical agents that speed up chemical reactions without being consumed by reaction


polymers of amino acids

primary structure

order of amino acids that make up protein

secondary structure

three dimensional arrangement of a protein's segments of coils and folds folded in patterns as a result of hydrogen bonds;

tertiary structure

o Overall shape of polypeptide from interactions with side chains of amino acids.
o Hydrophobic interaction = side chains end up in clusters at core
o Van der Waals reactions keep it in shape
o Disulfide bridges

quaternary structure

o Aggregation of polypeptide units
o Two or more polypeptide chains into one macromolecule

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