The major classes of non-lipid molecules are proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, which are considered the molecules of life. These molecules, also known as "macromolecules," are made upÂ of chains of smaller units of organic molecules called monomers, which are referred to as the "building blocks" of macromolecules.
In the field of biochemistry, a molecule is defined as the basic unit of a substance, consisting of a group of chemically bonded atoms. The macromolecules found in living organisms are formed by the loss of a water molecule, in a process called condensation reaction. The monomers created from this process are then strung together to synthesize proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
The fundamental building blocks of proteins are called amino acids, with 20 amino acids comprising a single protein. An enzyme is an example of a protein. It functions as a catalyst in most biochemical reactions and is an essential component for the continued survival of an organism.
The monomers of nucleic acids are called nucleotides. Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA and ribonucleic acid or RNA are the two primary types of nucleic acids. These molecular compounds store genetic material and are vital in the synthesis of proteins.
Monosaccharides, or simple sugars, combine to form complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides. Some examples of polysaccharides are starch and glycogen, which are used in the body for energy storage.