What Is Organic Chemistry? 

Organic Molecules: Carbs, Proteins, Lipids & Nucleic Acids

Phospholipid Structure
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Organic molecules are the chemicals of life, compounds composed of more than one type of element, that are found in, and produced by, living organisms. 

The feature that distinguishes an organic from inorganic molecule  
Article Summary: What substances are within the realm of organic chemistry? This article covers the main categories of naturally occurring organic macromolecules: carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids and lipids.
Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids & Nucleic Acids
Lactose Chemical Structure
Lactose, a 
disaccharide made of glucose and galactose.
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is that organic molecules contain carbon-hydrogen bonds, whereas inorganic molecules do not. The four major classes of organic molecules include carbohydrates, proteins
lipids and nucleic acids.​

Carbohydrates
The term carbohydrate is actually a descriptor of what these molecules are composed of; carbon hydrates, in a ratio of one carbon molecule to one water molecule (CH2O)n. The word saccharide is a handy synonym for carbohydrate, because it can be preceded with a prefix indicating the size of the molecule (mono-, di-, poly-):

  • Monosaccharides: The simplest, single sugars. Examples: Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides.

  • Disaccharides: Double sugars that are a combination of two monosaccharides. Example: Sucrose (table sugar) is made of glucose and fructose together.

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Endomembrane System of a Eukaryotic Cell, Mariana Ruiz
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Proteins & Nucleic Acids
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​Page last updated: 3/2016
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  • Polysaccharides: These are polymers composed of several sugars. They can be one type of monomer (many of same monosaccharide) or mixture of monomers. Example: Starch is a polysaccharide composed of many glucose molecules.

Amylose, a linear polymer of glucose can be made of several thousands of glucose units. Amylose and amylopectin are the two components of starch.
Amylose, a linear polymer of glucose can be made of thousands of glucose units. Amylose and amylopectin are the two components of starch.