Concepts in Biology 10th ed., - Enger-Ross

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Their characteristics are determined by the nature of their chemical bonds. When acids are mixed in water, hydrogen ions (H+) are set free. The hydrogen ion is positive because it has lost its electron and now has only the positive charge of the proton. An acid is any ionic compound that releases a hydrogen ion in a solution. You can think of an acid, then, as a substance able to donate a proton to a solution. However, this is only part of the definition of an acid. We also think of acids as compounds that act like the hydrogen ion—they attract negatively charged particles.

Many polypeptides fold into globular shapes after they have been made as the molecule bends. Some of the amino acids in the chain can form bonds with their neighbors. The string of amino acids in a polypeptide is likely to twist into particular shapes (a coil or a pleated sheet), whereas other portions remain straight. These twisted forms are referred to as the secondary structure of polypeptides. 15 The Structure of an Amino Acid An amino acid is composed of a short carbon skeleton with three functional groups attached: an amino group, a carboxylic acid group (acid group), and an additional variable group (R-group).

Molecules are defined as the smallest particles of chemical compounds. They are composed of a specific number of atoms arranged in a particular pattern. For example, a molecule of water is composed of one oxygen atom bonded covalently to two atoms of hydrogen. The shared electrons are in the second energy level of oxygen, and the bonds are almost at right angles to each other. Now that you realize how and why bonds are formed, it makes sense that only certain numbers of certain atoms will bond with one another to form molecules.

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