General Biology Lab I

General Biology Lab I
Lab 2: Organic Compounds
Matter (both living and nonliving) is composed of basic units called atoms. When
atoms interact and form chemical bonds, molecules are formed. The type of
bonding in the molecules affects the properties of the substance formed. In order to
understand the nature of living things, it is essential to understand the molecules of
which they are composed. Typically the molecules are carbohydrates, proteins,
lipids, or nucleic acids. Within each category, macromolecules are constructed
from repeating units by a process called dehydration synthesis. The
macromolecules may also be broken down during hydrolysis. The goal of this lab is
to review the nature of atoms, the organic molecules they can form, and the
chemical processes involved.
molecular model kit
NICC lab manual
lab notebook
III. Procedure
Prepare the proper heading in your lab notebook.
Read the entire procedure of the lab and write a “Purpose/Introduction”, as
well as the “Materials” section of your lab report.
Read the “Background” information for Lab Topic 6 in the lab manual (p. 8183).
For the first entry of the “Results” section of your lab, devise a data table that
includes the following information for carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen:
atomic number
electron configuration drawing
number of electrons (neutral atom)
predicted number of bonding sites
The color code for the molecular model kit is the following:
yellow – hydrogen
black – carbon
red – oxygen
blue – nitrogen
Using the kit and your text for structural formulas, construct the molecules
listed below:
carbon dioxide
Note: Inform your instructor when finished with the models.
To simulate a dehydration synthesis reaction, join the two amino acid models
as follows:
(a) Remove the –OH from the carbon of one of the amino acid molecules
(b) Remove the –H from the nitrogen of the other amino acid molecule.
(c) Attach the two amino acid molecules by connecting the open bond of the
nitrogen of the one molecule to the open carbon bond of the other.
(d) As other groups finish their molecules, construct an even larger polymer
in the same manner as above.
Working with another group, perform a similar simulation with the two
glucose units (monomers).
IV. Analysis
In your lab notebook, answer the following questions.
Which models represent both a molecule and a compound? Explain.
Which of the substances contains the largest number of atoms?
Which of the models contains atoms linked by double bonds?
What is the name of the connecting bond between two amino acids?
What is the name of the connecting bond between two monosaccharides?
[Hint: lab manual]
What molecule was removed with each dehydration synthesis reaction?
A string of joined amino acids is called what?
What chemical process joins monomers into a polymer?
What chemical process separates monomers by adding a water molecule?
Complete your lab report by summarizing the model-building activity and relating its
significance, especially of the reactions simulated in the procedure.
VI. Online simulations
Access the Rasmol program and locate files for molecules as described in the lab
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