Glossary: The Chemical Level of Organization

acid
compound that releases hydrogen ions (H+) in solution
activation energy
amount of energy greater than the energy contained in the reactants, which must be overcome for a reaction to proceed
adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
nucleotide containing ribose and an adenine base that is essential in energy transfer
amino acid
building block of proteins; characterized by an amino and carboxyl functional groups and a variable side-chain
anion
atom with a negative charge
atom
smallest unit of an element that retains the unique properties of that element
atomic number
number of protons in the nucleus of an atom
base
compound that accepts hydrogen ions (H+) in solution
bond
electrical force linking atoms
buffer
solution containing a weak acid or a weak base that opposes wide fluctuations in the pH of body fluids
carbohydrate
class of organic compounds built from sugars, molecules containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1-2-1 ratio
catalyst
substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being changed in the process
cation
atom with a positive charge
chemical energy
form of energy that is absorbed as chemical bonds form, stored as they are maintained, and released as they are broken
compound
substance composed of two or more different elements joined by chemical bonds
concentration
number of particles within a given space
covalent bond
chemical bond in which two atoms share electrons, thereby completing their valence shells
denaturation
change in the structure of a molecule through physical or chemical means
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
deoxyribose-containing nucleotide that stores genetic information
disaccharide
pair of carbohydrate monomers bonded by dehydration synthesis via a glycosidic bond
electron shell
area of space a given distance from an atom’s nucleus in which electrons are grouped
electron
subatomic particle having a negative charge and nearly no mass; found orbiting the atom’s nucleus
element
substance that cannot be created or broken down by ordinary chemical means
enzyme
protein or RNA that catalyzes chemical reactions
hydrogen bond
dipole-dipole bond in which a hydrogen atom covalently bonded to an electronegative atom is weakly attracted to a second electronegative atom
inorganic compound
substance that does not contain both carbon and hydrogen
ionic bond
attraction between an anion and a cation
ion
atom with an overall positive or negative charge
isotope
one of the variations of an element in which the number of neutrons differ from each other
kinetic energy
energy that matter possesses because of its motion
lipid
class of nonpolar organic compounds built from hydrocarbons and distinguished by the fact that they are not soluble in water
macromolecule
large molecule formed by covalent bonding
mass number
sum of the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom
matter
physical substance; that which occupies space and has mass
molecule
two or more atoms covalently bonded together
monosaccharide
monomer of carbohydrate; also known as a simple sugar
neutron
heavy subatomic particle having no electrical charge and found in the atom’s nucleus
nucleotide
class of organic compounds composed of one or more phosphate groups, a pentose sugar, and a base
organic compound
substance that contains both carbon and hydrogen
pH
negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration of a solution
peptide bond
covalent bond formed by dehydration synthesis between two amino acids
periodic table of the elements
arrangement of the elements in a table according to their atomic number; elements having similar properties because of their electron arrangements compose columns in the table, while elements having the same number of valence shells compose rows in the table
phospholipid
a lipid compound in which a phosphate group is combined with a diglyceride
phosphorylation
addition of one or more phosphate groups to an organic compound
polar molecule
molecule with regions that have opposite charges resulting from uneven numbers of electrons in the nuclei of the atoms participating in the covalent bond
polysaccharide
compound consisting of more than two carbohydrate monomers bonded by dehydration synthesis via glycosidic bonds
potential energy
stored energy matter possesses because of the positioning or structure of its components
product
one or more substances produced by a chemical reaction
protein
class of organic compounds that are composed of many amino acids linked together by peptide bonds
proton
heavy subatomic particle having a positive charge and found in the atom’s nucleus
purine
nitrogen-containing base with a double ring structure; adenine and guanine
pyrimidine
nitrogen-containing base with a single ring structure; cytosine, thiamine, and uracil
radioactive isotope
unstable, heavy isotope that gives off subatomic particles, or electromagnetic energy, as it decays; also called radioisotopes
reactant
one or more substances that enter into the reaction
ribonucleic acid (RNA)
ribose-containing nucleotide that helps manifest the genetic code as protein
solution
homogeneous liquid mixture in which a solute is dissolved into molecules within a solvent
steroid
(also, sterol) lipid compound composed of four hydrocarbon rings bonded to a variety of other atoms and molecules
substrate
reactant in an enzymatic reaction
triglyceride
lipid compound composed of a glycerol molecule bonded with three fatty acid chains
valence shell
outermost electron shell of an atom