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Appendix A. Molecules of Life > Carbohydrates Store Energy, Form Cell Walls, an...

Carbohydrates Store Energy, Form Cell Walls, and Make Rigid Structures

Carbohydrates include sugars, starch, and cellulose. They make up the woody parts of plants and the hard exoskeletons of insects. They are also important components of the cell walls of bacteria and fungi. Simple sugars contain several carbon atoms (glucose has six), hydrogen atoms, and oxygen atoms. These sugars can be joined to form large polymers, such as starch and cellulose. Nucleic acids also contain sugars. For example, each nucleotide (subunit) of DNA and RNA contains a five-carbon sugar (deoxyribose and ribose, respectively). As with other complex polymers, cell walls are built by enzymes that control the process. Some antibiotics, such as penicillin, interfere with the placement of sugars in bacterial cell walls. As a result, bac....


  

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