3. Biological Molecules

The large molecules necessary for life that are built from smaller organic molecules are called biological macromolecules. There are four major classes of biological macromolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids), and each is an important component of the cell and performs a wide array of functions. Combined, these molecules make up the majority of a cell’s mass. Biological macromolecules are organic, meaning that they contain carbon atoms. In addition, they may contain atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and additional minor elements.

 

beads on a string
Figure 1: The structure of a macromolecule can be compared to a necklace: both are larger structures that are built out of small pieces connected together into a chain. (“Beads on a string” by Daniel is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

References

Unless otherwise noted, images on this page are licensed under CC-BY 4.0 by OpenStax.

OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. May 27, 2016 http://cnx.org/contents/s8Hh0oOc@9.10:QhGQhr4x@6/Biological-Molecules

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3. Biological Molecules by Lisa Bartee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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