Explain why carbon is vital for life describe the duty of functional teams in benidormclubdeportivo.orglogical molecules

Cells space made of many facility molecules referred to as macromolecules, such as proteins, main point acids (RNA and also DNA), carbohydrates, and also lipids. The macromolecules room a subset that organic molecule (any carbon-containing liquid, solid, or gas) the are especially important because that life. The an essential component for every one of these macromolecules is carbon. The carbon atom has distinctive properties that allow it to form covalent bonds come as numerous as four different atoms, making this versatile facet ideal to serve as the an easy structural component, or “backbone,” of the macromolecules.

You are watching: A carbon atom can form up to four covalent bonds

Individual carbon atoms have an incomplete outermost electron shell. Through an atomic number of 6 (six electrons and also six protons), the an initial two electrons fill the within shell, leaving 4 in the 2nd shell. Therefore, carbon atoms can type up to 4 covalent binding with other atoms to meet the octet rule. The methane molecule provides an example: it has actually the chemistry formula CH4. Each of its four hydrogen atoms develops a single covalent bond v the carbon atom by share a pair the electrons. This outcomes in a fill outermost shell.


Hydrocarbons room organic molecule consisting completely of carbon and also hydrogen, such together methane (CH4) explained above. We often use hydrocarbons in our day-to-day lives together fuels—like the propane in a gas grill or the butane in a lighter. The numerous covalent bonds in between the atom in hydrocarbons save a an excellent amount the energy, i beg your pardon is released when these molecule are shed (oxidized). Methane, wonderful fuel, is the easiest hydrocarbon molecule, v a central carbon atom external inspection to four various hydrogen atoms, as illustrated in figure \(\PageIndex1\). The geometry the the methane molecule, whereby the atom reside in three dimensions, is identified by the form of its electron orbitals. The carbons and also the 4 hydrogen atoms kind a shape well-known as a tetrahedron, with 4 triangular faces; because that this reason, methane is described as having tetrahedral geometry.


Hydrocarbon Rings

So far, the hydrocarbons we have debated have been aliphatic hydrocarbons, i m sorry consist of linear chains the carbon atoms. Another form of hydrocarbon, fragrant hydrocarbons, consists of closed rings of carbon atoms. Ring structures are found in hydrocarbons, occasionally with the presence of double bonds, which deserve to be watched by to compare the structure of cyclohexane to benzene in number \(\PageIndex3\). Examples of benidormclubdeportivo.orglogical molecules that incorporate the benzene ring incorporate some amino acids and also cholesterol and its derivatives, consisting of the hormone estrogen and also testosterone. The benzene ring is also found in the herbicide 2,4-D. Benzene is a herbal component of crude oil and also has been classified together a carcinogen. Some hydrocarbons have actually both aliphatic and aromatic portions; beta-carotene is an instance of such a hydrocarbon.

Figure \(\PageIndex3\): Carbon can form five-and 6 membered rings. Single or dual bonds may attach the carbons in the ring, and also nitrogen might be substituted for carbon.


The three-dimensional placement of atoms and chemical bonds within organic molecules is main to understanding their chemistry. Molecules that share the same chemical formula however differ in the placement (structure) of your atoms and/or chemistry bonds are known as isomers. Structure isomers (like butane and isobutene presented in number \(\PageIndex4\)a different in the location of their covalent bonds: both molecules have 4 carbons and ten hydrogens (C4H10), yet the different plan of the atoms within the molecules leads to differences in your chemical properties. For example, due to their different chemical properties, butane is suited for usage as a fuel for cigarette lighters and also torches, conversely, isobutene is suited for usage as a refrigerant and a propellant in spray cans.

Geometric isomers, top top the various other hand, have similar placements of their covalent bonds yet differ in just how these bonds are made to the surrounding atoms, specifically in carbon-to-carbon double bonds. In the basic molecule butene (C4H8), the two methyl teams (CH3) deserve to be top top either next of the dual covalent bond main to the molecule, as illustrated in number \(\PageIndex4\)b. Once the carbons space bound on the exact same side that the twin bond, this is the cis configuration; if they room on opposite political parties of the double bond, it is a trans configuration. In the trans configuration, the carbons type a more or less linear structure, whereas the carbons in the cis configuration do a bending (change in direction) of the carbon backbone.

Art Connection

Figure \(\PageIndex4\): molecule that have actually the exact same number and form of atom arranged in different ways are referred to as isomers. (a) structural isomers have a different covalent setup of atoms. (b) Geometric isomers have actually a different plan of atoms around a double bond. (c) Enantiomers are mirror images of each other.

Which that the complying with statements is false?

Molecules with the formulas CH3CH2COOH and C3H6O2 could be structure isomers. Molecules must have a double bond to be cis-trans isomers. To it is in enantiomers, a molecule must have at least three different atoms or groups linked to a main carbon. To it is in enantiomers, a molecule must have actually at least four various atoms or groups connected to a main carbon.

In triglythrade (fats and also oils), long carbon chains known as fat acids might contain twin bonds, which have the right to be in either the cis or trans configuration, depicted in number \(\PageIndex5\). Fats with at least one dual bond in between carbon atoms room unsaturated fats. As soon as some of these bonds are in the cis configuration, the resulting bend in the carbon backbone that the chain method that triglyceride molecule cannot pack tightly, therefore they stay liquid (oil) in ~ room temperature. Top top the various other hand, triglycerides with trans double bonds (popularly referred to as trans fats), have fairly linear fatty acids that space able to load tightly with each other at room temperature and type solid fats. In the person diet, trans fat are attached to an enhanced risk the cardiovascular disease, so numerous food manufacturers have diminished or removed their use in current years. In contrast to unsaturated fats, triglycerides without dual bonds in between carbon atoms are referred to as saturated fats, an interpretation that castle contain all the hydrogen atom available. Saturation fats room a solid in ~ room temperature and also usually of pet origin.

Figure \(\PageIndex5\): this space-filling models show a cis (oleic acid) and a infectious diseases worldwide (eliadic acid) fatty acid. Notification the bending in the molecule reason by the cis configuration.


Enantiomers space molecules that share the very same chemical structure and chemical bonds yet differ in the three-dimensional placement of atoms so the they room mirror images. As displayed in number \(\PageIndex6\), an amino mountain alanine example, the 2 structures room non-superimposable. In nature, just the L-forms the amino acids are offered to make proteins. Part D forms of amino acids room seen in the cell walls of bacteria, however never in your proteins. Similarly, the D-form of glucose is the main product the photosynthesis and also the L-form that the molecule is rarely seen in nature.

api/deki/files/919/Figure_02_03_07.jpg?revision=1" />Figure \(\PageIndex7\): The functional groups presented here are found in numerous different benidormclubdeportivo.orglogical molecules.

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Hydrogen bonds in between functional groups (within the same molecule or between different molecules) are crucial to the role of countless macromolecules and aid them come fold properly into and maintain the proper shape for functioning. Hydrogen binding are likewise involved in various recognition processes, such as DNA complementary base pairing and also the binding of an enzyme to its substrate, as shown in figure \(\PageIndex8\).