What is a Macromolecule?
Most of you must have enjoyed making building with certain things like blocks or sand. Basically, you used small units to make a bigger object by using these small units over and over until you got the desired item.
A macromolecule is made in a similar fashion. The term molecule here refers to a very big molecule. As you know, a molecule is something that consists of more than one atom. Macromolecules are so huge that these are made up of more than 10,000 or more atoms.
A Polymer is another term for macromolecule. As you know that the prefix ‘poly’ refers to the meaning many, similarly polygon means a figure with many sides. Since macromolecules consist of many building blocks called monomers, hence these terms are synonymous. Consider a monomer as a brick and a polymer or a macromolecule being a complete brick wall made up of building blocks. The brick wall consists of smaller units just like macromolecule is made up of a monomer as building blocks.
There are three main types of biological macromolecules according to mammalian systems:
- Nucleic acids
The above ones are classified separately in different segments of a course. The principles that govern the organization of three-dimensional structure are same for all of them, therefore we could consider them together.
All the biologic macromolecules are vital for life. All living organisms are composed of four macromolecules viz. proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides.
Types of Macromolecules
We are surrounded by macromolecules everywhere. It might even include your chair which is upholstered with a man-made fabric. Plastics are the polymers consisting of petroleum products. The sandwich contains macromolecules like starch in the bread, lettuce, mayonnaise, and tomatoes include complex carbohydrates known as cellulose. Mayonnaise consists of fats which are also macromolecules and are made up of organisms.
All the cells that make your body include macromolecules or biological polymers. Our cells are made up of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
Macromolecules Used in Industry
There are three major groups of macromolecules that are essential in industry apart from biologic macromolecules. These include plastics, fibers, and elastomers.
Elastomers are macromolecules that are flexible and stretchy. The elastic property lets these materials to be used in products like hair bands and elastic waistbands. These objects could be stretched and they return to their original structure once released.
We wear fiber macromolecules. Nylon, Polyester, and acrylic fibers are used in everything from blouses, belts to shirts and shoes. Natural fibers include wool, wood, cotton, and silk.
Hence, there are many objects that we use today are made up of macromolecules. Many types of plastics are made through a process known as polymerization, which is the joining of monomer units from plastic products.
To know more about macromolecules chart and functions, visit Byju’s.