Introduction to Food Macromolecule Virtual Lab
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About the Introduction to Food Macromolecule Virtual Simulation Lab
Macromolecules are very large molecules created by the polymerization of small units called monomers. Most of the macromolecules are present in everyday life, for instance in food (although nucleic acids are not considered food macromolecules).
There are several types of biological macromolecules: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids and Nucleic acids. All macromolecules, except lipids, are polymers. A polymer is a long molecule composed of chains of monomers. Monomers are small molecules that serve as building blocks of polymers. In addition, there are also oligomers in nature. Oligomers are molecular complex composed of a few monomer units, instead of the theoretical unlimited nature of polymers. Dimers and trimers are, for instance, oligomers composed of two and three monomers, respectively, such as lactose in milk for instance.
However, in biochemistry, an oligomer usually refers to a macromolecular complex formed by non-covalent bonding of a few macromolecules, like nucleic acids or proteins. A clear example is those oligomers related to many neurodegenerative diseases, such as the alpha-synuclein aggregations in Parkinson’s disease.
In this simulation, you will help your friend get a healthy diet. You will investigate the types of macromolecules found in food. By performing a series of biochemistry tests, you will know the contents of various food items. Can you convince your friend to stop starving herself in the attempt to lose weight?
Sara R. Milillo Ph.D.
Director of Math and Science
Bay Path University
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