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Chapter: Basic Concept of Biotechnology - Macromolecules and Analytical Techniques

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Macromolecules and Analytical Techniques

Living organisms are made up of limited number of types of atom viz; carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur and ions such as sodium, magnesium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and trace elements such as iron, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc etc.

Macromolecules and Analytical Techniques

     Living organisms are made up of limited number of types of atom viz; carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur and ions such as sodium, magnesium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and trace elements such as iron, manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc etc. These combine to form various forms of molecules which are building blocks of life. Among which polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids are some of commonly known macromolecules. Many repetitive monomeric units of simpler organic molecules associate to form macromolecules. Carbohydrates act as instant source of energy for living organism whereas lipids act as stored energy. Proteins are involved in functional and structural need of an organism and nucleic acids acts as informational molecules concerned with carrying genetic information and expression of that information. The properties, structure and functional studies of these macromolecules can be revealed by the use of various analytical tools and techniques. The analytical tools have become the basis for many of the exclusive research and as well as in pharmaceutical industry. Spectroscopy is a tool used for the assay, molecular weight determination and structural arrangements of the basic elements of bio molecules. The centrifugation and chromatographic techniques can be used for isolation, separation and to study chemical and physical properties of bio molecules, whereas electrophoretical techniques are extensively used for separation, molecular characterization and studies onevolutionary modifications of the macromolecules in biological systems or in living organisms.

Introduction

Living organisms are made up of limited number of types of atom viz; carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulphur and ions such as sodium, magnesium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and trace elements such as iron manganese, cobalt, copper, zinc etc. Among which Carbon is a basic element found in all living organisms as well as in macromolecules. The importance of carbon atom in living system is influenced by its ability of forming strong covalent bonds with other elements. Sometimes they form chains and rings which forms skeletons of organic molecules and hence of life itself. To these carbon skeletons, groups of other atoms are added which are called functional groups (e.g., hydroxyl, carbonyl, carboxyl, methyl, ethyl, phenyl, disulphide, phosphoryl, ether, thioester, amino group etc) which confer specific chemical properties on the molecule. These combine to form various forms of molecules which are building blocks of life. Many repetitive monomeric units of simpler organic molecules associate to form macromolecules. They are the major constituents of cells. Among which polysaccharides, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids are some of commonly known macromolecules. Their constituent monomers are monosaccharides, amino acids and nucleotides respectively. Carbohydrates act as instant source of energy for living organism whereas lipids act as stored energy. Proteins are involved in functional and structural need of an organism and nucleic acids acts as informational molecules concerned with carrying genetic information and expression of that information The properties, structure and functional studies of these macromolecules can be revealed by the use of various analytical tools and techniques. The analytical tools have become the basis for many of the modern biological research and as well as in chemicaland pharmaceutical industry. Different types of Centrifugation, Spectroscopy, and Chromatography and Electrophoretical techniques are being used for isolation, assay, molecular weight determination, structural arrangements, for study of chemical and physical properties, molecular characterization and studies on evolutionary modifications of the macromolecules in biological systems or in living organisms. In the present chapter a brief description of the macro molecules is given. Even though variety of analytical techniques are available and employed for various purpose, few important techniques along with their applications are illustrated in this chapter.


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