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Biology > Molecular > Macromolecules – Definition, Types, Examples
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Macromolecules – Definition, Types, Examples

Macromolecules

Macromolecules is a term you must have come across in your previous science chapters for sure. These molecules are quite interesting to study about as they are present in almost everything from plastics to textiles and even human beings.

For instance, we have all made necklaces with beads or buildings using small blocks, in our childhood. Thus, you see how we used smaller things to build something big. Same is the case with macromolecules.

Definition of Macromolecules

They are big molecules made from smaller building block units. As it is a known fact that any molecules comprise of more than one atom, the same way they are also built. However, as they are quite huge, you can say one macromolecule is made up of around more than 10,000 atoms.

macromolecules

We can also refer to a macromolecule as a polymer. The buildings blocks which make up macromolecules are known as monomers. Thus, in simpler words, if the monomer is the brick then macromolecule is the whole brick wall. Similarly, like the brick wall is made of smaller units like bricks, the macromolecule is made of the building blocks known as monomers.

Types of Macromolecules

It is not hard to guess where these molecules are present as they surround us. For instance, the chair you are sitting on or the laptop you use or even the bread you have for breakfast, all of it composes of macromolecules.Therefore, we can say that there are essentially two types of macromolecules. One which is biological macromolecules and the other which we use in industries.

Examples of Macromolecules

Let’s take a look at the examples of macromolecules:

Biological Macromolecules

Biological macromolecules are very essential to our lives. Further, our body contains trillions of cells which contain these polymers. Our cells are made up of proteins, lipids, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids.

Proteins

These polymers comprise of amino acid building blocks. Living organisms consist of hundreds and thousands of proteins. Many also composes of various hundred amino acid monomers.

Lipids

These polymers comprise long chains of fatty acids or carbon rings. The essential lipids which our body consists of are cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides, and steroid hormones.

Polysaccharides

Thee polymers are quite essential for fulfilling the energy needs of organisms. They are made of monomers like simple sugars. Moreover, glucose is also a monomer of this polymer. All cellular procedures require it.

Nucleic Acids

Next, we have these biological polymers which consist of monomers known as nucleotides. The most common kind of nucleic acid is DNA. It is one of the most essential things we require for identifying people.

Macromolecules Used in Industry

Other than the biological macromolecules, we also have ones which we use in the industry for various purposes. They are elastomers, fibers, and plastics.

Elastomers

These polymers are quite stretchy and also very flexible. Moreover, this property of these polymers helps them in serving the elastic industry manufacturing waistbands and hair bands. You can stretch them as much as you like, they will return to their original shape nonetheless.

Fibers

Further, the clothing you wear from your shirts to belts all comprises of this polymer. Similarly, they are string-like and very durable when we weave them together. For instance, these are polyester, nylon, wood, silk, wool, cotton and more.

Plastics

The bioplastics which use renewable resources for manufacturing comprise of these polymers. They can successfully break down which is safe for the environment. Thus, we can recycle it easily.

Solved Question for You

Question– Which of the following is not a biological macromolecule?

A. Lipids
B. Fiber
C. Proteins
D. Nucleic acids

Answer– The correct answer is option B.

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