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  • Cell Structure and Functions
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All the carbon compounds that we get from living 'tissues can be called 'biomolecules’.

Biomolecules are of two types. One, those which have molecular weights less than one thousand dalton and are usually referred to as micromolecules or simply biomolecules while those which are found in the acid insoluble fraction are called macromolecules or biomacromolecules.

Only three types of macromolecules, i.e., proteins, nucleic acids and polysaccharides are found in living systems. Lipids, because of their association with membranes separate in the macromolecular fraction.

Biomacromolecules are polymers. They are made of building blocks which are different. Proteins are heteropolymers made of amino acids.

Nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) are composed of nucleotides.

Biomacromolecules have a hierarchy of structures - primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary.

Polysaccharides are components of cell wall in plants, fungi and also of the exoskeleton of arthropods. They also are storage forms of energy (e.g., starch and glycogen).

Proteins serve a variety of cellular functions. Many of them are enzymes, some are antibodies, some are receptors, some are hormones and some others are structural proteins.


Inorganic compounds:

Water = 70-90%

Salts, acids, bases, gases = 1-3%     

Organic Compounds:

Proteins = 7-14%

Lipids = 1-3%

Carbohydrates = 1-2%

Nucleic acids, enzymes and other = 1-3% 


These are molecules of low molecular weight and have higher solubility. These include minerals water, amino acid, sugars and nucleotides. All molecules or chemicals functional in life activity are called biomolecules.

(1) Elements: On the basis of presence and requirement in plants and animals, they are grouped into major (Ca, P, Na, Mg, S, K N) and minor (Fe, Cu, Co, Mn, Mo, Zn, I) bio-elements.

On the basis of function, they may be of following types :-

Framework elements: Carbon, voxygen and hydrogen.

Protoplasmic elements: Protein, nucleic acid, lipids, chlorophyll, enzymes, etc.

Balancing elements: Ca, Mg and K.

(2) Biological compounds

Inorganic compounds: Water 80%, inorganic salts 1-3%.

Organic compounds: Carbohydrates (1.0%), Lipids (3.5%),

Proteins (12.0%) Nucleotides (2.0%), Other compounds (0.5).

(3)  Cellular pool: Aggregated and interlinked various kinds of biomolecules in a living system. So cell is called cellular pool. It includes over 5000 chemicals. Inorganic chemicals are present mostly in aqueous phase while organic in both, aqueous and non-aqueous. Cellular pool comprises of both crystalloid and colloidal particles. Hence called as crystal colloids.

(4) Water: Liquid of life, major constituent of cell (about .60-90%) and exists in intracellular, intercellular and in vacuoles. In cells it occurs in free state or bound state (KOH, CaOH etc.).

(5) Carbohydrates: E.g., sugars, glycogen (animal starch), plant starch and cellulose. 

  • Topics Covered


Carbohydrates and Lipids


Proteins and Amino Acids


Nuclic Acids and Enzymes

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