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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A monomer (from Greek mono "one" and meros "part") is either an atom or a small molecule that has the potential of chemically binding to other monomers of the same species to form a polymer.[1] The most common biochemical monomer is glucose, which is linked by glycosidic bonds into polymers such as cellulose and starch, and is over 76% of the weight of all plant matter.[2]

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Natural monomers

Amino acids are natural monomers and polymerize to form proteins. Nucleotides, monomers found in the cell nucleus, polymerize to form nucleic acids - most famously, DNA and RNA. Glucose monomers can polymerize to form starches, amylopectins and glycogen polymers. In this case the polymerization reaction is known as a dehydration or condensation reaction (due to the formation of water (H2O) as one of the products) where a hydrogen atom and a hydroxyl (-OH) group are lost to form H2O and an oxygen molecule bonds between each monomer unit.

Isoprene is a natural monomer and polymerizes to form natural rubber, most often cis-1,4-polyisoprene, but also trans-1,4-polyisoprene.

Molecular weight

The lower molecular weight compounds built from monomers are also referred to as dimers, trimers, tetramers, pentamers, octamers, 20-mers, etc. if they have 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 20 monomer units, respectively. [3] Any number of these monomer units may be indicated by the appropriate prefix, eg, decamer, being a 10-unit monomer chain or polymer. Larger numbers are often stated in English in lieu of Greek. Polymers with relatively low number of units are called oligomers.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Introduction to Polymers 1987 R.J. Young Chapman & Hall ISBN 0-412-22170-5
  2. ^ Cellulose. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  3. ^ Campbell, Neil A.; Brad Williamson; Robin J. Heyden (2006). Biology: Exploring Life. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-250882-6. http://www.phschool.com/el_marketing.html. 

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