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The Chemistry of Life

Has there ever been a time in your life where
all of the odds were against you? If so what
was going on that made you feel that way?
How did it make you feel?
What were some of the obstacles you had to
Did it affect others around you? Positively or
Are you a better person now because of that
What do you think of when you see the
word Biochemistry?
List the first 5 things that you think of in
your notebook.
Bio Chemistry
Bio= life
Chemistry = how things interact
Biochemistry= the branch of science in
which you study the chemical and
physical processes that occur in an
I can
Identify the parts of an atom AND
understand how atoms interact
All matter, whether living or nonliving, is made of
the same type building blocks called atoms
An atom is the smallest basic unit of matter
All atoms have the same basic structure,
composed of three smaller particles
Proton a positively charged particle in an atoms
Neutron a neutral (no charge) particle which has
about the same mass as a proton and is also in the
Electron a negatively charged particle found
outside the nucleus. Electrons are much, much
smaller than proton and neutrons
Different types of atoms are called
elements, which cannot be broken down
by ordinary chemical means
Which element an atom is depends on the
number of protons in the atoms nucleus
For example all hydrogen atoms have
1proton and all oxygen atoms have 8 protons
Only about 25 different elements are found
in organisms
However, atoms of different elements can
link or bond together to form compounds
Elements can have a different number of
This is called an isotope
Carbon 14, Carbon 13, and Carbon 12
Atoms form compounds in two ways
1. Ionic bonds consists of ions and forms
through the electrical force between
oppositely charged ions
An ion is an atom that has lost or gained electrons
Cation an ion that loses electrons so becomes
positively charged
Anion an ion that gains electrons so becomes
negatively charged
2. Covalent bonds forms when atoms share
one or more pairs of electrons
A molecule consists of two or more atoms held
together by covalent bonds
Why elements bond the
way they do
All atoms want 8 electrons in their outer
most energy level (shell) This is called the
octet rule.
That is why they do what they do
Ionic bonds gain or lose electrons
Covalent share electrons
How do we identify each type
Ionic compound metal + non-metal
Covalent compound non-metal + non-metal
Try These
Identify the type of bond
1. MgF2
2. S 3O2
3. RbCl
4. PCl4
5. N 2O
Bell Ringer
1. How is an atom different from a compound?
2. What does the number of protons tell us about
an element?
3. Identify the following as ionic or covalent
a. Cl2F4
b. CuF2
c. AlBr3
d. CO2
4. Compare and contrast ionic and covalent bonds
Waters Unique Properties
The STRUCUTRE of the water molecule gives
water its unique properties
Water is a polar molecule, which means that
it has a region with a slight negative charge
(the oxygen atom) and a region with a slight
positive charge (the hydrogen atoms)
The oppositely charged regions of water
molecules interact to form hydrogen bonds
Hydrogen bond is an attraction between a
hydrogen atom and a negative atom
Bell Ringer
Which Property of water is responsible
for the following:
1. Homeostasis
2. Water beading up
3. An iceberg floating in the ocean
4. Water moving against gravity in a flower
Bell Ringer
What makes water so unique?
Why is water considered a polar
What is a hydrogen bond?
Carbon based molecules
Carbon based molecules are the foundation for life
Many of these molecules are large and called
polymers. Poly- many
A repeating unit of the same small molecule (monomer)
There are four main types of carbon-based
molecules in living things
1. Carbohydrates

2. Proteins

3. Lipids

4. Nucleic acids
Bell Ringer
What is the main element in an organic
How are monomers related to polymers?
What are the four main organic
molecules living organisms need?
After Presentation Review
1. Another name that lipids may be
2. Why are nucleic acids so important to
living organisms?
3. List three foods you may find
4. There is a special class of proteins
called enzymes what is their purpose
and why are they important?
Bell Ringer
1. An athlete is preparing for a triathlon
what type of food should he eat before
hand and why?
2. Many animals hibernate in the winter, to
do so, they eat more food than need in
the fall. The extra calories are stored as
fat. Why do these animals do this?
3. Of the four carbon based molecules we
talked about which two rely on each
other more so than any other?
Known as sugars and starches
Also include cellulose and glycogen
Made up of monosaccharides (monomer)
which can be put together to form
disaccharides and polysaccharides
Disaccharides sucrose (table sugar)
Polysaccharides starch, cellulose (cell wall
component), and glycogen (storage of carbs
in the liver and muscle)
Glycogen is important for insulin in humans
Why carbs are important to
living organisms
Short-term storage energy storage
Plant cell wall components strength
Component of cell membranes
It helps identify the type of cell
Known as meat to us
Made up of amino acids (monomer)
which can be put together to form
polypeptides (50-300 a.a.)
20 different amino acids are found in
human proteins
Why proteins are important
to living organism
Form body tissue
Skin, hair, muscles
Important for immune response
Antibodies fight off foreign invaders
All enzymes in the body
Biological catalysts they speed chemical
reactions inside the body
Known as fats, oils and waxes
Made up of glycerol and fatty acids
Saturated fatty acids
Single bonds join carbon (carbon carbon)
Are oils at room temperatures

Unsaturated fatty acids

Has at least one carbon = carbon (joined by
double bonds)
3 fatty acids + 1 glycerol = triglyceride
Why lipids are important to
living organisms
Long term storage of energy
Fat is the storage mechanism
Formation of cell membranes
Nerves and brain tissue
Phospholipids and cholesterol
Phospholipids have hydrophobic heads and
hydrophilic tails
Made of steroids
Nucleic Acids
Known as DNA and RNA
Made up of nucleotides
A nucleotide consists of
Phosphate group
Pentose sugar (5-carbon sugar)
Nitrogen base (A, T, C, G, or U)
Why nucleic acids are
important to living things
Blueprint for life
Our genes
Translates DNA to make PROTEINS
Chemical Reactions in the
Chemical reactions require the addition of
energy, called activation energy , to take place
Even if a chemical reactions starts, it may not
happen very quickly
However, both the activation energy and the rate
of a chemical reaction can be changed by a
A catalyst is a substance that decreases the
activation energy for a reaction and increases the
rate of reaction
Enzymes are biological catalysts
Almost all enzymes are proteins and almost
every process in living things needs
The function of each enzyme depends on its
A change in biological conditions can affect the
shape of an enzyme, which can decrease or
prevent an enzyme from working properly
For example, enzymes function best in a small
range around an organisms normal temperature
and pH
Shapes of enzymes
The shape of an enzyme is important
because it allows only certain molecules
to bind to the enzyme
The specific molecules that an enzyme
acts on are called substrates
It works like a puzzle or lock and key only
certain pieces fit together for it to work
If an enzymes structure changes, the substrate
cannot bind to the enzyme
Bell Ringer
What does the activation energy tell us
for a particular reaction?
How does a catalyst affect a chemical
Why would enzymes be called a lock
and key or puzzle piece?
How it actually works
Substrates bind to the enzyme
The enzyme brings molecules close together so
that they can react with one another
The bonds inside the substrate are stretched
slightly out of position, which weakens the bonds
The reaction takes place and the product is
released from the enzyme
Less energy is needed to break weaker bonds
The enzyme can then bind to more of the
substrate molecules
One more thing about
chemical reactions and
There are two types of energy changes that can
occur with chemical reactions
enzymes do not change this for an reaction
Exothermic reactions
Releases energy (usually in the form of heat or light)
Energy in the reactant bonds are higher than in the
product bonds
Endothermic reactions
Absorbs energy
Energy in the reactant bonds are lower than in the
product bonds
Important Properties of
Hydrogen bonds are responsible for several
important properties of water
1. High specific heat water resists changes in
temperature it must absorb a large amount of
heat energy to increase the temperature
2. Cohesion the attraction among molecules of a
substance makes water stick together
Surface tension
3. Adhesion the attraction among molecules of
DIFFERENT substances makes water stick to
other materials
Capillary action
Important Properties of
Hydrogen bonds are responsible for
several important properties of water
4. Expands when freezes when water
freezes its volume becomes larger than in
the liquid or gas state (just the opposite of
most other compounds)
Weathering and aquatic organisms
Lab Requirements
All Labs must have the following UNLESS
changed by me
Title and Date
Pre-Lab Questions (if any)
Procedure (max of 3 sentences)
Post Lab Questions (must be in complete
A little more on water
Many compounds that are important for life
dissolve in water.
Water is the largest component of cells interiors,
and chemical reactions in the cell take place in
When one substance dissolves in another a
solution is made
Each solution is made up of two parts
Solute what gets dissolved (usually in smallest amount)
Solvent what does the dissolving (usually in the largest
Acids and bases
When some substances dissolve in water they
break up into ions
Acids and bases are such substances they
are very important to living organism
Acids release H+ ions when dissolved in water
Bases accept H+ ion when dissolved in water
Organisms must maintain a staple pH and
even a small change in pH can disrupt many
biological processes (remember homeostasis?)
pH scale
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14
O 6 are considered acids (low pHs)
7 is neutral
8 14 are considered bases (high pHs)