Click here to
e-learning for
Key Concepts
Biopolymers There are four classes of biopolymers found in and used by living cells; lipids, polysaccharides, proteins and nucleic acids. All are polymers of smaller monomer units joined together.

    Key concepts:
  • all the monomers used in the construction of biopolymers are made from one or more carbon atoms joined with covalent bonds to other carbon atoms and usually hydrogen and oxygen.
  • the main backbone of each biopolymer is a single chain of repeated monomer units. One class of biopolymer is sometimes branched, but the rest are always single, straight chains.
  • hydrocarbons (one of the main constituents of lipids) and some polysaccharides are considered to be homopolymers (all the monomers in a particular chain are the same).
  • proteins, polynucleotides and some polysaccharides are considered to be heteropolymers as their main chains consist of more than one kind of monomeric unit.

Science@a Distance
© 2001, Professor John Blamire