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2.4: Organic Compounds

The basis of life is carbon. Carbon's importance comes mainly from the enormous variety of structures that it can form due to its unusual four valence electrons. Most important of these structures is the carbon chain, which forms the "backbone" of fatty acids and carbohydrates, among other organic molecules. Other elements do share properties similar to carbon, in this regard. However, they are not as prevalent on earth as carbon.

  • 2.4A: Organic Molecules and Functional Groups
  • 2.4B: Types of Biological Macromolecules
  • 2.4C: Dehydration Synthesis
    Most macromolecules are made from single subunits, or building blocks, called monomers. The monomers combine with each other via covalent bonds to form larger molecules known as polymers. In doing so, monomers release water molecules as byproducts. This type of reaction is known as dehydration synthesis, which means “to put together while losing water.” It is also considered to be a condensation reaction since two molecules are condensed into one larger molecule with the loss of a smaller molecu