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What are macromolecules?

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Quick Answer

According to the University of New Mexico, macromolecules are large molecules that are created by the polymerization of smaller molecules. Nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates are the four classes of macromolecules.

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Macromolecules are made of smaller molecules. In carbohydrates and proteins these smaller particles are referred to as monomers. When two similar or identical monomers are bonded together they form a larger polymer molecule. The monomers of carbohydrates are monosaccharides or simple sugars, and when two or more of these are linked by a covalent bond it creates a disaccharide. When they are bonded together they form a complex sugar or a polysaccharide. The monomers of proteins are called amino acids, which can be strung together in different combinations known as polypeptide chains.

Carbohydrates are the first macromolecules that are used as energy for the body. They are often referred to as fast fuel. Glucose and cellulose are both examples of carbohydrates. Lipids are stored inside the body as reserve energy because they are harder to break down than carbohydrates, but they do contain more energy per unit than carbohydrates. Once the body uses all of the fast fuel it has, it begins breaking down lipids which are stored in the body as fat molecules, including triglycerides.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the four types of macromolecules?

    A:

    The four types of macromolecules are nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. These macromolecules are large molecules that make up most of the bodies of living things. They consist of chains of repeating units, which are known as polymers.

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  • Q:

    What group of macromolecules do enzymes belong to?

    A:

    Enzymes belong to a group of macromolecules called proteins. The basic function of an enzyme is to control the rate of chemical reactions by acting as a biological catalyst.

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  • Q:

    Which macromolecule is not a polymer?

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    Unlike the other biological macromolecules, lipids are not polymers. Polymers are long chains of smaller repeating elements. DNA, carbohydrates and proteins are all polymers because they consist of chains of nucleotides, simple sugars and amino acids respectively. These macromolecules must be polymers by definition.

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  • Q:

    What are the four macromolecules?

    A:

    The four types of macromolecules, or very large molecules, are nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. All are biological polymers, except for lipids that, according to the University of New Mexico, are not considered to be made of monomers and thus are not polymers. Carbon is integral to all these types of molecules, with hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and oxygen also playing a role in several of them.

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