oil A triglyceride that is liquid at room temperature.
oligosaccharide A polymer containing a small number of monosaccharides.
optical isomers Two isomers that are mirror images of each other.
pentose A sugar containing five carbon atoms.
peptide linkage The bond between amino acids in a protein. Formed between a carboxyl group and amino group (CO—NH–) with the loss of water molecules.
phosphodiester linkage The connection in a nucleic acid strand, formed by linking two nucleotides.
phospholipids Lipids containing a phosphate group; important constituents of cellular membranes.
polymer A large molecule made up of similar or identical subunits called monomers.
polysaccharide A macromolecule composed of many monosaccharides (simple sugars). Common examples are cellulose and starch.
primary structure The specific sequence of amino acids in a protein.
protein One of the most fundamental building substances of living organisms. A long-chain polymer of amino acids with twenty different common side chains. Occurs with its polymer chain extended in fibrous proteins, or coiled into a compact macromolecule in enzymes and other globular proteins.
purine One of the types of nitrogenous bases. The purines adenine and guanine are found in nucleic acids.
pyrimidine A type of nitrogenous base. The pyrimidines cytosine, thymine, and uracil are found in nucleic acids.
quaternary structure The specific three dimensional arrangement of protein subunits.
R group The distinguishing group of atoms of a particular amino acid.
ribose A five-carbon sugar in nucleotides and RNA.
ribozyme An RNA molecule with catalytic activity.
RNA (ribonucleic acid) An often single stranded nucleic acid whose nucleotides use ribose rather than deoxyribose and in which the base uracil replaces thymine found in DNA. Serves as genome from some viruses.
saturated fatty acid A fatty acid usually containing from 12 to 18 carbon atoms and no double bonds.
secondary structure Of a protein, localized regularities of structure, such as the α helix and the beta pleated sheet.
starch A polymer of glucose; used by plants to store energy.
structural isomers Molecules made up of the same kinds and numbers of atoms, in which the atoms are bonded differently.
tertiary structure In reference to a protein, the relative locations in three-dimensional space of all the atoms in the molecule. The overall shape of a protein.
triglyceride A simple lipid in which three fatty acids are combined with one molecule of glycerol.
unsaturated hydrocarbon A compound containing only carbon and hydrogen atoms, with one or more pairs of carbon atoms that are connected by double bonds.
vitamins Organic compounds that an organism cannot synthesize, but nevertheless requires in small quantity for normal growth and metabolism.
binary fission Reproduction by cell division of a single-celled organism.
biofilm A community of microorganisms embedded in a polysaccharide matrix, forming a highly resistant coating on almost any moist surface.
bioluminescence The production of light by biochemical processes in an organism.
cyanobacteria (Cyanobacteria) A group of unicellular, colonial, or filamentous bacteria that conduct photosynthesis using chlorophyll
decomposers Organisms that metabolize organic compounds in debris and dead organisms, releasing inorganic material; found among the bacteria, protists, and fungi.
flagellum Long, whiplike appendage that propels cells. Prokaryotic flagella differ sharply from those found in eukaryotes.
Koch’s postulates A set of rules for establishing that a particular microorganism causes a particular disease.
lateral gene transfer The transfer of genes from one species to another, common among bacteria and archaea.
pathogen An organism that causes disease.
peptidoglycan The cell wall material of many bacteria, consisting of a single enormous molecule that surrounds the entire cell.
spore Any asexual reproductive cell capable of developing into an adult organism without gametic fusion. In plants, haploid spores develop into gametophytes, diploid spores into sporophytes. In prokaryotes, a resistant cell capable of surviving unfavorable periods.
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