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The purpose of this experiment was to isolate and characterize macromolecules.

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Introduction: The purpose of this experiment was to isolate and characterize macromolecules. Macromolecules are huge highly organized molecules. These molecules carry out the activities of the cell. There are four major categories in which these molecules can be placed into. These groups include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Carbohydrates are organic molecules that are usually used to store chemical energy and building material for biological construction. Lipids are a group of non-polar molecules whose common property is that they are water insoluble. Proteins are polymers that are built from amino acid monomers. They carry out almost all of the cell's activities. Proteins perform a variety of activities including the acceleration of metabolic reactions, providing of mechanical support to the cell, and have regulatory functions in areas such as hormones, growth factors and gene activators. Nucleic acids are made as long strands called nucleotides. There are two types of nucleic acids, ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid, and there primary use is for storage and transmission of genetic information. (Karp, 2003) In the experiment that was carried out, the macromolecules that were used were proteins and nucleic acids. To isolate the macromolecules from there original mixtures, the process of centrifugation was used. This is a technique in which the centrifugal force separates the solvent and precipitate into a supernatant and the pellet. Chromatography was used to characterize the macromolecules. ...read more.


From the results of the chromatography, the alanine, methionine, and unknown solution all appeared to have a greater displacement from the starting position compared to the results of the remaining substances. This result of a greater displacement signifies that the molecular weight of these three substances is low. For it to move a great distance up the chromatography paper, there weights had to be quite low. In terms of solubility, since the three molecules have are high in polarity, there solubility is therefore also high. The aspartic acid was the only substance to have a displacement in a general mid-zone on the chromatography paper. This indicates that its molecular weight is lower than the weights of alanine, methionine and the unknown substance but still greater that the weight if histidine and lysine. This again indicates that the solubility and polarity is less than those substances with a greater weight and greater than those with a lower molecular weight. Finally, the histidine and the lysine were both low in molecular weight because of there little displacement from the starting position. There polarity is quite low which therefore causes there solubility to be low. The unhydrolyzed nucleic acid should not have separated because its chemical bonds should have been intact. The results on the chromatography showed no separation at all which means that the experiment with the unhydrolyzed nucleic acid was a success. ...read more.


These errors listed above, except for the last one, may have had a significant affect on the outcomes of the experiment. If the results from the last week were one hundred percent successful, then certain molecules would have shown up in the hydrolyzed and unhydrolyzed proteins and nucleic acids. The results on the chromatogram for hydrolyzed protein would reveal a separation which would be the amino acids. The unhydrolyzed protein should have no substances separated because its chemical bonds have not been broken. The result should be no displacement of the solution from the line. If done correctly, the chromatogram showing hydrolyzed nucleic acid should have separations displaying the nitrogenous bases. The results of the unhydrolyzed nucleic acid portion should be just as the unhydrolyzed protein portion was, no separation. Again, the chemical bonds had not been broken and therefore the solution should have no displacement from the origin. If the steps carried out were only partially successful for the hydrolyzed protein and nucleic acid, then the substances that could be found in hydrolyzed protein would be peptide chains containing the unbroken amino acids. In the hydrolyzed nucleic acid portion, one would be able to find nucleotides because the bonds would not have been broken. The substances alanine, histidine, aspartic acid, lysine, and methionine fall into the category of amino acids. The adenine, cytosine, and uracil are in the group called nitrogenous bases. ...read more.

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