Chapter 2: The Chemistry of Life

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Biology Chapter 2


the basic unit of matter


a negatively charged particle


atoms of the same element that differ in the number of neutrons they contain

radioactive isotopes

their nuclei are unstable and break down at a constant rate of time


a substance formed by the chemical combination of two or more elements in definite proportions

ionic bonds

formed when one or more electrons are transferred from one atom to another

covalent bonds

form when electrons are shared between atoms


the smallest unit of most compounds

van der Waals forces

when molecules are close together, a slight attraction can develop between the oppositely charged regions of attraction (van der Waals forces)

polar molecule

a molecule in which the charges are unevenly distributed


an attraction between molecules of the same substance


an attraction between molecules of different substances


a material composed of two or more elements or compounds that are physically mixed together but not chemically combined


the substance that is dissolved


the substance that dissolves


mixture of water and nondissolved material

pH scale

it ranges from 0-14


they contain higher concentrations of hydrogen ions than pure water and have pH values below 7


they contain lower concentrations of hydrogen ions than pure water and have pH values of above 7


weak acids or bases that can react with strong acids or bases to prevent sharp, sudden changes in pH


the smaller units of macromolecules


the larger units of macromolecules (monomers combine to form this)


compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms


single sugar molecules


the large macromolecules formed from monosaccharides


made mostly of carbon and hydrogen atoms

nucleic acids

macromolecules containing hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and phosphorus


nucleic acids are polymers assembled from individual monomers know as this.


macromolecules that contain nitrogen as well as carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen

amino acids

proteins are polymers of molecules called this.


the elements or compounds that enter into a chemical reaction

activation energy

the energy that is needed to get a reaction started


a substance that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction


proteins that act as biological catalysts

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