an IntroduCtIon to organIC ChemIstry,
BIoChemIstry, and synthetIC polymers
t’s Friday night, and you don’t feel like cooking so you head for your favorite eatery,
the local 1950s-style diner. There you spend an hour talking and laughing with
friends while downing a double hamburger, two orders of fries, and the thickest
milkshake in town. After the food has disappeared, you’re ready to dance the night
away at a nearby club.
What’s in the food that gives you the energy to talk, laugh, and dance? How do these
substances get from your mouth to the rest of your body, and what happens to them
once they get there? The branch of chemistry that answers these questions and many
more is called biochemistry, the chemistry of biological systems.
Because the scope of biochemistry is huge, we will attempt no
more than a glimpse of it here by tracing some of the chemical
and physical changes that food undergoes in your body. You
will be introduced to the kinds of questions that biochemists
ask and will see some of the answers that they provide. Because
chemicals that are important to biological systems are often
organic, or carbon-based, compounds, we start this chapter with
an introduction to organic chemistry.
It’s not always apparent to the naked eye, but the structures of
many plastics and synthetic fabrics are similar to the structures of
biological substances. In fact, nylon was purposely developed to
mimic the structural characteristics of protein. The last section in
this chapter shows you how these substances are similar, and how
synthetic polymers are made and used.
How does the body manage to
benefit from the nutrients in the
food we eat?
17.4 Synthetic Polymers
Give a general description of the information
provided in a Lewis structure. (Section 3.3.)
Describe the information given by a space-
filling model, a ball-and-stick model, and a
geometric sketch. (Section 3.3)
Given a L