Question Video: Describing the Formation of Macromolecules from Monomer Subunits Biology

Biological macromolecules can be formed from subunits (monomers) joining together in a chain. What is the name of this general process? [A] Hydrolysis [B] Differentiation [C] Centrifugation [D] Monomerization [E] Polymerization

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Video Transcript

Biological macromolecules can be formed from subunits or monomers joining together in a chain. What is the name of this general process? Hydrolysis, differentiation, centrifugation, monomerization, or polymerization.

Let’s look at some of the key terms in the question before answering it. The question asks us about biological macromolecules. What are those exactly? Macro- in macromolecules means large, and biological refers to life. So biological macromolecules are large molecules important for life. There’s four main types of biological macromolecules: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. We can find each of these inside of our own bodies. Carbohydrates are found in many of the foods we eat like, this apple here. Even though the stick figure doesn’t have a lot of it, body fat is where you’d find lipids. You find protein inside your muscle. And nucleic acids like DNA can be found in just about every cell of our body.

Another key term that we need to address in this question is the word monomer. To do this, let’s look at an example involving glucose, represented here as a hexagon. The single glucose molecule can be called a monomer. Mono- in monomer means one. But what happens if we add another glucose molecule or another two or three or we start branching off and we end up with many more glucose molecules from when we started?

This molecule is different from a single molecule of glucose. It is a polymer of glucose that we can call amylopectin. Amylopectin is a component of starch that is used by plants to store energy. In fact, a single molecule of amylopectin can have as many as two million glucose monomers. That’s why amylopectin can be called a polymer of glucose. Poly- in the word polymer means many. The process of joining monomers together to form a polymer is called polymerization.

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