Humboldt State University ® Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Paselk

Chem 438

Introductory Biochemistry

Spring 2007

Lecture Notes: 28 February

© R. Paselk 2006



Sucrose, Sucrase (Invertase), and the magic of liquid filled chocolate covered cherries.


Can have both homo- and heteropolysaccharides. We will focus on homopolysaccharides as most central, but will mention some heteropolysaccharides to illustrate their functions. Homopolysaccharides have a single type of residue. Most common polysaccharides contain glucose. Used for energy (food) storage (starches and glycogen) and structure (cellulose).

Starch (energy storage in plants). Two kinds

Glycogen: animal starch. Just like amylopectin, but more highly branched (every 8-12 residues). This allows more free ends for more rapid breakdown-important in animals.


Cellulose: beta-1,4 linkages, thus resistant to breakdown (including acid hydrolysis) as want for structure (don't want to digest self). Multiple, extended strands come together as fibrils held together with H-bonds (Figure 8.25, 8.26) [overhead 10.15, V&V], laid down in cell wall in criss-cross pattern, glued together with polyalcohols (lignin).

Chitin: Serves similar role to cellulose, but in animals (crustaceans and insects), fungi, and some algae. Homopolymer of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine. Like cellulose , it has beta-1,4 linkages, and is thus resistant to breakdown. (Figure 8.27)

Among the heteropolysaccharides are the glycans such as Hyaluronic acid, an alternating polysaccharide of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine; MW to 5,000,000 (Figure 8.28) which serves as a lubricant in joints and is a component of the vitreous humor. Again we see beta-1,4 linkages.

Also very important are the glycans conjugated to proteins and peptides to give proteoglycans (Figure 8.29).


Recall the lipid definition: The portion of an organism which will partition into a non-polar solvent.

Types of Lipids: (Figure 9.1) [overhead 11.1, P]

Pathway Diagrams

C438 Home

Lecture Notes

Last modified 28 February 2007