Objectives After studying this Unit, you will be able to • explain the terms - monomer, polymer and polymerisation and appreciate their importance; • distinguish between various classes of polymers and different types of polymerisation processes; • appreciate the formation of polymers from mono- and bi-functional monomer molecules; • describe the preparation of some important synthetic polymers and their properties; • appreciate the importance of polymers in daily life. “Copolymerisation has been used by nature in polypeptides which may contain as many as 20 different amino acids. Chemists are still far behind”. Do you think that daily life would have been easier and colourful without the discovery and varied applications of polymers? The use of polymers in the manufacture of plastic buckets, cups and saucers, children’s toys, packaging bags, synthetic clothing materials, automobile tyres, gears and seals, electrical insulating materials and machine parts has completely revolutionised the daily life as well as the industrial scenario. Indeed, the polymers are the backbone of four major industries viz. plastics, elastomers, fibres and paints and varnishes. The word ‘polymer’ is coined from two Greek words: poly means many and mer means unit or part. The term polymer is defined as very large molecules having high molecular mass (103-107u). These are also referred to as macromolecules, which are formed by joining of repeating structural units on a large scale. The repeating structural units are derived from some simple and reactive molecules known as monomers and are linked to each other by covalent bonds. This process of formation of polymers from respective monomers is called polymerisation. The transformation of ethene to polythene and interaction of hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid leading to the formation of Nylon 6, 6 are examples of two different types of polymerisation reactions. 15.1 Classification of Polymers 15.1.1 Classification Based on Source 15.1.2 Classification Based on Structure of Polymers There are several ways of classification of polymers based on some special considerations. The following are some of the common classifications of polymers: Under this type of classification, there are three sub categories. 1. Natural polymers These polymers are found in plants and animals. Examples are proteins, cellulose, starch, some resins and rubber. 2. Semi-synthetic polymers Cellulose derivatives as cellulose acetate (rayon) and cellulose nitrate, etc. are the usual examples of this sub category. 3. Synthetic polymers A variety of synthetic polymers as plastic (polythene), synthetic fibres (nylon 6,6) and synthetic rubbers (Buna - S) are examples of man-made polymers extensively used in daily life as well as in industry. There are three different types based on the structure of the polymers. 1. Linear polymers These polymers consist of long and straight chains. The examples are high density polythene, polyvinyl chloride, etc. These are represented as: 2. Branched chain polymers These polymers contain linear chains having some branches, e.g., low density polythene. These are depicted as follows: 3. Cross linked or Network polymers These are usually formed from bi-functional and tri-functional monomers and contain strong covalent bonds between various linear polymer chains, e.g. bakelite, melamine, etc. These polymers are depicted as follows: 15.1.3 Classification Based on Mode of Polymerisation Polymers can also be classified on the basis of mode of polymerisation into two sub groups. 1. Addition polymers The addition polymers are formed by the repeated addition of monomer molecules possessing double or triple bonds, e.g., the formation of polythene from ethene and polypropene from propene. However, the addition polymers formed by the polymerisation of a single monomeric species are known as homopolymers, e.g., polythene. The polymers made by addition polymerisation from two different monomers are termed as copolymers, e.g., Buna-S, Buna-N, etc. 2. Condensation polymers The condensation polymers are formed by repeated condensation reaction between two different bi-functional or tri-functional monomeric units. In these polymerisation reactions, the elimination of small molecules such as water, alcohol, hydrogen chloride, etc. take place. The examples are terylene (dacron), nylon 6, 6, nylon 6, etc. For example, nylon 6, 6 is formed by the condensation of hexamethylene diamine with adipic acid. 15.1.4 Classification Based on Molecular Forces A large number of polymer applications in different fields depend on their unique mechanical properties like tensile strength, elasticity, toughness, etc. These mechanical properties are governed by intermolecular forces, e.g., van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds, present in the polymer. These forces also bind the polymer chains. Under this category, the polymers are classified into the following four sub groups on the basis of magnitude of intermolecular forces present in them. 1. Elastomers These are rubber – like solids with elastic properties. In these Polymers15.1.5 Classification Based on Growth Polymerisation elastomeric polymers, the polymer chains are held together by the weakest intermolecular forces. These weak binding forces permit the polymer to be stretched. A few ‘crosslinks’ are introduced in between the chains, which help the polymer to retract to its original position after the force is released as in vulcanised rubber. The examples are buna-S, buna-N, neoprene, etc. 2. Fibres Fibres are the thread forming solids which possess high tensile strength and high modulus. These characteristics can be attributed to the strong intermolecular forces like hydrogen bonding. These strong forces also lead to close packing of chains and thus impart crystalline nature. The examples are polyamides (nylon 6, 6), polyesters (terylene), etc. 3. Thermoplastic polymers These are the linear or slightly branched long chain molecules capable of repeatedly softening on heating and hardening on cooling. These polymers possess intermolecular forces of attraction intermediate between elastomers and fibres. Some common thermoplastics are polythene, polystyrene, polyvinyls, etc. 4 Thermosetting polymers These polymers are cross linked or heavily branched molecules, which on heating undergo extensive cross linking in moulds and again become infusible. These cannot be reused. Some common examples are bakelite, urea-formaldelyde resins, etc. The addition and condensation polymers are nowadays also referred as chain growth polymers and step growth polymers depending on the type of polymerisation mechanism they undergo during their formation. 15.2 Types of Polymerisation Reactions 15.2.1 Addition Polymerisation or Chain Growth Polymerisation There are two broad types of polymerisation reactions, i.e., the addition or chain growth polymerisation and condensation or step growth polymerisation. In this type of polymerisation, the molecules of the same monomer or diferent monomers add together on a large scale to form a polymer. The monomers used are unsaturated compounds, e.g., alkenes, alkadienes and their derivatives. This mode of polymerisation leading to an increase in chain length or chain growth can take place through the formation of either free radicals or ionic species. However, the free radical governed addition or chain growth polymerisation is the most common mode. 1. Free radical mechanism A variety of alkenes or dienes and their derivatives are polymerised in the presence of a free radical generating initiator (catalyst) like benzoyl peroxide, acetyl peroxide, tert-butyl peroxide, etc. For example, the polymerisation of ethene to polythene consists of heating or exposing to light a mixture of ethene with a small amount of benzoyl peroxide initiator. The process starts with the addition of phenyl free radical formed by the peroxide to the ethene double bond thus generating a new and larger free radical. This step is called chain initiating step. As this radical reacts with another molecule of ethene, another bigger sized radical is formed. The repetition of this sequence with new and bigger radicals carries the reaction forward and the step is termed as chain propagating step. Ultimately, at some stage the product radical thus formed reacts with another radical to form the polymerised product. This step is called the chain terminating step. The sequence of steps may be depicted as follows: Chain initiation steps Chain propagating step Chain terminating step For termination of the long chain, these free radicals can combine in different ways to form polythene. One mode of termination of chain is shown as under: 2 Preparation of some important addition polymers (a) Polythene There are two types of polythene as given below: (i) Low density polythene: It is obtained by the polymerisation of ethene under high pressure of 1000 to 2000 atmospheres at a temperature of 350 K to 570 K in the presence of traces of dioxygen or a peroxide initiator (catalyst). The low density PolymersG. Natta of Imperia and Karl Ziegler of Germany were awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1963 for the development of Ziegler-Natta catalyst. Teflon coatings undergo decomposition at temperatures above 300°C. Acrylic fibres have good resistance to stains, chemicals, insects and fungi. 15.2.2 Condensation Polymerisation or Step Growth polymerisation polythene (LDP) obtained through the free radical addition and H-atom abstraction has highly branched structure. Low density polythene is chemically inert and tough but flexible and a poor conductor of electricity. Hence, it is used in the insulation of electricity carrying wires and manufacture of squeeze bottles, toys and flexible pipes. (ii) High density polythene: It is formed when addition polymerisation of ethene takes place in a hydrocarbon solvent in the presence of a catalyst such as triethylaluminium and titanium tetrachloride (Ziegler-Natta catalyst) at a temperature of 333 K to 343 K and under a pressure of 6-7 atmospheres. High density polythene (HDP) thus produced, consists of linear molecules and has a high density due to close packing. It is also chemically inert and more tough and hard. It is used for manufacturing buckets, dustbins, bottles, pipes, etc. (b) Polytetrafluoroethene (Teflon) Teflon is manufactured by heating tetrafluoroethene with a free radical or persulphate catalyst at high pressures. It is chemically inert and resistant to attack by corrosive reagents. It is used in making oil seals and gaskets and also used for non – stick surface coated utensils. (c) Polyacrylonitrile The addition polymerisation of acrylonitrile in presence of a peroxide catalyst leads to the formation of polyacrylonitrile. Polyacrylonitrile is used as a substitute for wool in making commercial fibres as orlon or acrilan. This type of polymerisation generally involves a repetitive condensation reaction between two bi-functional monomers. These polycondensation reactions may result in the loss of some simple molecules as water, alcohol, etc., and lead to the formation of high molecular mass condensation polymers. In these reactions, the product of each step is again a bi-functional species and the sequence of condensation goes on. Since, each step produces a distinct functionalised species and is independent of each other, this process is also called as step growth polymerisation. The formation of terylene or dacron by the interaction of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid is an example of this type of polymerisation. OO COCH 2–CH 2–O– Cn HOH C – CH OH + n HOOC COOH22 n Ethylene glycol Terephthalic acid Terylene or dacron (Ethane-1, 2 - diol) (Benzene-1,4 - di carboxylic acid) Some important condensation polymerisation reactions characterised by their linking units are described below: 1. Polyamides These polymers possessing amide linkages are important examples of synthetic fibres and are termed as nylons. The general method of preparation consists of the condensation polymerisation of diamines with dicarboxylic acids and also of amino acids and their lactams. Preparation of nylons (i) Nylon 6,6: It is prepared by the condensation polymerisation of hexamethylenediamine with adipic acid under high pressure and at high temperature. Nylon 6, 6 is used in making sheets, bristles for brushes and in textile industry. (ii) Nylon 6: It is obtained by heating caprolactum with water at a high temperature. Nylon 6 is used for the manufacture of tyre cords, fabrics and ropes. 2. Polyesters These are the polycondensation products of dicarboxylic acids and diols. Dacron or terylene is the best known example of polyesters. It is manufactured by heating a mixture of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid at 420 to 460 K in the presence of zinc acetate-antimony trioxide catalyst as per the reaction given earlier. Dacron fibre (terylene) is crease resistant and is used in blending with cotton and wool fibres and also as glass reinforcing materials in safety helmets, etc. 3. Phenol - formaldehyde polymer (Bakelite and related polymers) Phenol - formaldehyde polymers are the oldest synthetic polymers. These are obtained by the condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde in the presence of either an acid or a base catalyst. The reaction starts with the initial formation of o-and/or p-hydroxymethylphenol derivatives, which further react with phenol to form compounds having rings joined to each other through –CH2 groups. The initial product could be a linear product – Novolac used in paints. Novolac on heating with formaldehyde undergoes cross linking to form an infusible solid mass called bakelite. It is used for making combs, phonograph records, electrical switches and handles of various utensils. CH2 CH2 CH2 HCCH2 CH2CH22 OHOH OH Bakelite 4. Melamine – formaldehyde polymer Melamine formaldehyde polymer is formed by the condensation polymerisation of melamine and formaldehyde. It is used in the manufacture of unbreakable crockery. 15.2.3 Copolymerisation Copolymerisation is a polymerisation reaction in which a mixtureof more than one monomeric species is allowed to polymerise and form a copolymer. The copolymer can be made not only by chain growth polymerisation but by step growth polymerisation also. It contains multiple units of each monomer used in the same polymeric chain. For example, a mixture of 1, 3 – butadiene and styrene can form a copolymer. 15.2.4 Rubber Copolymers have properties quite different from homopolymers. For example, butadiene - styrene copolymer is quite tough and is a good substitute for natural rubber. It is used for the manufacture of autotyres, floortiles, footwear components, cable insulation, etc. 1. Natural rubber Rubber is a natural polymer and possesses elastic properties. It is also termed as elastomer and has a variety of uses. It is manufactured from rubber latex which is a colloidal dispersion of rubber in water. This latex is obtained from the bark of rubber tree and is found in India, Srilanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and South America. Natural rubber may be considered as a linear polymer of isoprene (2-methyl-1, 3-butadiene) and is also called as cis - 1, 4 polyisoprene. The cis-polyisoprene molecule consists of various chains held together by weak van der Waals interactions and has a coiled structure. Thus, it can be stretched like a spring and exhibits elastic properties. Vulcanisation of rubber: Natural rubber becomes soft at high temperature (>335 K) and brittle at low temperatures (<283 K) and shows high water absorption capacity. It is soluble in non-polar solvents and is non-resistant to attack by oxidising agents. To improve upon these physical properties, a process of vulcanisation is carried out. This process consists of heating a mixture of raw rubber with sulphur and an appropriate additive at a temperature range between 373 K to 415 K. On vulcanisation, sulphur forms cross links at the reactive sites of double bonds and thus the rubber gets stiffened. In the manufacture of tyre rubber, 5% of sulphur is used as a crosslinking agent. The probable structures of vulcanised rubber molecules are depicted below: 2. Synthetic rubbers Synthetic rubber is any vulcanisable rubber like polymer, which is capable of getting stretched to twice its length. However, it returns to its original shape and size as soon as the external stretching force is released. Thus, synthetic rubbers are either homopolymers of 1, 3 - butadiene derivatives or copolymers of 1, 3 - butadiene or its derivatives with another unsaturated monomer. Preparation of Synthetic Rubbers 1. Neoprene Neoprene or polychloroprene is formed by the free radical polymerisation of chloroprene. It has superior resistance to vegetable and mineral oils. It is used for manufacturing conveyor belts, gaskets and hoses. 2.Buna – N You have already studied about Buna-S, in Section 15.1.3. Buna –N is obtained by the copolymerisation of 1, 3 – butadiene and acrylonitrile in the presence of a peroxide catalyst. It is resistant to the action of petrol, lubricating oil and organic solvents. It is used in making oil seals, tank lining, etc. Intext Questions 15.5 Explain the difference between Buna-N and Buna-S. 15.6 Arrange the following polymers in increasing order of their intermolecular forces. (i) Nylon 6,6, Buna-S, Polythene. (ii) Nylon 6, Neoprene, Polyvinyl chloride. 15.3 Molecular Mass of Polymers 15.4 Biodegradable Polymers Polymer properties are closely related to their molecular mass, size and structure. The growth of the polymer chain during their synthesis is dependent upon the availability of the monomers in the reaction mixture. Thus, the polymer sample contains chains of varying lengths and hence its molecular mass is always expressed as an average. The molecular mass of polymers can be determined by chemical and physical methods. A large number of polymers are quite resistant to the environmental degradation processes and are thus responsible for the accumulation of polymeric solid waste materials. These solid wastes cause acute environmental problems and remain undegraded for quite a long time. In view of the general awareness and concern for the problems created by the polymeric solid wastes, certain new biodegradable synthetic polymers have been designed and developed. These polymers contain functional groups similar to the functional groups present in biopolymers. Aliphatic polyesters are one of the important classes of biodegradable polymers. Some important examples are given below: 1. Poly β-hydroxybutyrate – co-β-hydroxy valerate (PHBV) It is obtained by the copolymerisation of 3-hydroxybutanoic acid and 3 - hydroxypentanoic acid. PHBV is used in speciality packaging, orthopaedic devices and in controlled release of drugs. PHBV undergoes bacterial degradation in the environment. 2. Nylon 2–nylon 6 It is an alternating polyamide copolymer of glycine (HN–CH –COOH)22and amino caproic acid [H2N (CH2)5 COOH] and is biodegradable. Can you write the structure of this copolymer? Besides, the polymers already discussed, some other commercially15.5 Polymers of important polymers along with their structures and uses are givenCommercial below in Table 15.1. Importance Exercises 15.1 Explain the terms polymer and monomer. 15.2 What are natural and synthetic polymers? Give two examples of each type. 15.3 Distinguish between the terms homopolymer and copolymer and give an example of each. 15.4 How do you explain the functionality of a monomer? 15.5 Define the term polymerisation. 15.6 Is ( NH-CHR-CO )n, a homopolymer or copolymer? 15.7 In which classes, the polymers are classified on the basis of molecular forces? 15.8 How can you differentiate between addition and condensation polymerisation? 15.9 Explain the term copolymerisation and give two examples. 15.10 Write the free radical mechanism for the polymerisation of ethene. 15.11 Define thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers with two examples of each. 15.12 Write the monomers used for getting the following polymers. (i) Polyvinyl chloride (ii) Teflon (iii) Bakelite 15.13 Write the name and structure of one of the common initiators used in free radical addition polymerisation. 15.14 How does the presence of double bonds in rubber molecules influence their structure and reactivity? 15.15 Discuss the main purpose of vulcanisation of rubber. 15.16 What are the monomeric repeating units of Nylon-6 and Nylon-6,6? 15.17 Write the names and structures of the monomers of the following polymers: (i) Buna-S (ii) Buna-N (iii) Dacron (iv) Neoprene 15.18 Identify the monomer in the following polymeric structures.(i) (ii) 15.19 How is dacron obtained from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid ? 15.20 What is a biodegradable polymer ? Give an example of a biodegradable aliphatic polyester. Answers of Some Intext Questions 15.1 Polymers are high molecular mass substances consisting of large numbers of repeating structural units. They are also called as macromolecules. Some examples of polymers are polythene, bakelite, rubber, nylon 6, 6, etc. 15.2 On the basis of structure, the polymers are classified as below: (i) Linear polymers such as polythene, polyvinyl chloride, etc. (ii) Branched chain polymers such as low density polythene. (iii) Cross linked polymers such as bakelite, melamine, etc. 15.3 (i) Hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid. (ii) Caprolactam. (iii) Tetrafluoroethene. 15.4 Addition polymers: Polyvinyl chloride, Polythene. Condensation polymers: Terylene, Bakelite. 15.5 Buna-N is a copolymer of 1,3-butadiene and acrylonitrile and Buna-S is a copolymer of 1,3-butadiene and styrene. 15.6 In order of increasing intermolecular forces. (i)Buna-S, Polythene, Nylon 6,6. (ii)Neoprene, Polyvinyl chloride, Nylon 6.
After studying this Unit, you will be able to
• explain the characteristics of biomolecules like carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids andhormones;
• classify carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids and vitamins on the basis of their structures;
• explain the difference between DNA and RNA;
• describe the role of biomolecules in biosystem.
“It is the harmonious and synchronous progress of chemical reactions in body which leads to life”.
A living system grows, sustains and reproduces itself. The most amazing thing about a living system is that it is composed of non-living atoms and molecules. The pursuit of knowledge of what goes on chemically within a living system falls in the domain of biochemistry. Living systems are made up of various complex biomolecules like carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, etc. Proteins and carbohydrates are essential constituents of our food. These biomolecules interact with each other and constitute the molecular logic of life processes. In addition, some simple molecules like vitamins and mineral salts also play an important role in the functions of organisms. Structures and functions of some of these biomolecules are discussed in this Unit.
Carbohydrates are primarily produced by plants and form a very large group of naturally occurring organic compounds. Some common examples of carbohydrates are cane sugar, glucose, starch, etc. Most of them have a general formula, Cx(H2O)y, and were considered as hydrates of carbon from where the name carbohydrate was derived. For example, the molecular formula of glucose (C6H12O6) fits into this general formula, C6(H2O)6. But all the compounds which fit into this formula may not be classified as carbohydrates. For example acetic acid (CH3COOH) fits into this general formula, C2(H2O)2 but is not a carbohydrate. Similarly, rhamnose, C6H12O5 is a carbohydrate but does not fit in this definition. A large number of their reactions have shown that they contain specific functional groups. Chemically, the carbohydrates may be defined as optically active polyhydroxy aldehydes or ketones or the compounds which produce such units on hydrolysis. Some of the carbohydrates, which are sweet in taste, are also called sugars. The most common sugar, used in our homes is named as sucrose whereas the sugar present in milk is known as lactose. Carbohydrates are also called saccharides (Greek: sakcharon means sugar).
14.1.1 Classification of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are classified on the basis of their behaviour on hydrolysis. They have been broadly divided into following three groups.
(i) Monosaccharides: A carbohydrate that cannot be hydrolysed further to give simpler unit of polyhydroxy aldehyde or ketone is called a monosaccharide. About 20 monosaccharides are known to occur in nature. Some common examples are glucose, fructose, ribose, etc.
(ii) Oligosaccharides: Carbohydrates that yield two to ten monosaccharide units, on hydrolysis, are called oligosaccharides. They are further classified as disaccharides, trisaccharides, tetrasaccharides, etc., depending upon the number of monosaccharides, they provide on hydrolysis. Amongst these the most common are disaccharides. The two monosaccharide units obtained on hydrolysis of a disaccharide may be same or different. For example, one molecule of sucrose on hydrolysis gives one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose whereas maltose gives two molecules of only glucose.
(iii) Polysaccharides: Carbohydrates which yield a large number of monosaccharide units on hydrolysis are called polysaccharides. Some common examples are starch, cellulose, glycogen, gums, etc. Polysaccharides are not sweet in taste, hence they are also called non-sugars.
The carbohydrates may also be classified as either reducing or non-reducing sugars. All those carbohydrates which reduce Fehling’s solution and Tollens’ reagent are referred to as reducing sugars. All monosaccharides whether aldose or ketose are reducing sugars.
Monosaccharides are further classified on the basis of number of carbon atoms and the functional group present in them. If a monosaccharide contains an aldehyde group, it is known as an aldose and if it contains a keto group, it is known as a ketose. Number of carbon atoms constituting the monosaccharide is also introduced in the name as is evident from the examples given in Table 14.1
Table 14.1: Different Types of Monosaccharides
Glucose occurs freely in nature as well as in the combined form. It is present in sweet fruits and honey. Ripe grapes also contain glucose in large amounts. It is prepared as follows:
Preparation of Glucose
1. From sucrose (Cane sugar): If sucrose is boiled with dilute HCl or H2SO4 in alcoholic solution, glucose and fructose are obtained in equal amounts.
Sucrose Glucose Fructose
2. From starch: Commercially glucose is obtained by hydrolysis of starch by boiling it with dilute H2SO4 at 393 K under pressure.
Starch or cellulose Glucose
Structure of Glucose
Glucose is an aldohexose and is also known as dextrose. It is the monomer of many of the larger carbohydrates, namely starch, cellulose. It is probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. It was assigned the structure given below on the basis of the following evidences:
1. Its molecular formula was found to be C6H12O6.
2. On prolonged heating with HI, it forms n-hexane, suggesting that all the six carbon atoms are linked in a straight chain.
3. Glucose reacts with hydroxylamine to form an oxime and adds a molecule of hydrogen cyanide to give cyanohydrin. These reactions confirm the presence of a carbonyl group (>C = O) in glucose.
4. Glucose gets oxidised to six carbon carboxylic acid (gluconic acid) on reaction with a mild oxidising agent like bromine water. This indicates that the carbonyl group is present as an aldehydic group.
5. Acetylation of glucose with acetic anhydride gives glucose pentaacetate which confirms the presence of five –OH groups. Since it exists as a stable compound, five –OH groups should be attached to different carbon atoms.
6. On oxidation with nitric acid, glucose as well as gluconic acid both yield a dicarboxylic acid, saccharic acid. This indicates the presence of a primary alcoholic (–OH) group in glucose.
The exact spatial arrangement of different —OH groups was given by Fischer after studying many other properties. Its configuration is correctly represented as I. So gluconic acid is represented as II and saccharic acid as III.
Glucose is correctly named as D(+)-glucose. ‘D’ before the name of glucose represents the configuration whereas ‘(+)’ represents dextrorotatory nature of the molecule. It should be remembered that ‘D’ and ‘L’ have no relation with the optical activity of the compound. They are also not related to letter ‘d’ and ‘l’ (see Unit 10). The meaning of D– and L– notations is as follows.
The letters ‘D’ or ‘L’ before the name of any compound indicate the relative configuration of a particular stereoisomer of a compound with respect to configuration of some other compound, configuration of which is known. In the case of carbohydrates, this refers to their relation with a particular isomer of glyceraldehyde. Glyceraldehyde contains one asymmetric carbon atom and exists in two enantiomeric forms as shown below.
(+) Isomer of glyceraldehyde has ‘D’ configuration. It means that when its structural formula is written on paper following specific conventions which you will study in higher classes, the –OH group lies on right hand side in the structure. All those compounds which can be chemically correlated to D (+) isomer of glyceraldehyde are said to have D-configuration whereas those which can be correlated to ‘L’ (–) isomer of glyceraldehyde are said to have L—configuration. In L (–) isomer –OH group is on left hand side as you can see in the structure. For assigning the configuration of monosaccharides, it is the lowest asymmetric carbon atom (as shown below) which is compared. As in (+) glucose, —OH on the lowest asymmetric carbon is on the right side which is comparable to (+) glyceraldehyde, so (+) glucose is assigned D-configuration. Other asymmetric carbon atoms of glucose are not considered for this comparison. Also, the structure of glucose and glyceraldehyde is written in a way that most oxidised carbon (in this case –CHO)is at the top.
Cyclic Structure of Glucose
The structure (I) of glucose explained most of its properties but the following reactions and facts could not be explained by this structure.
1. Despite having the aldehyde group, glucose does not give Schiff’s test and it does not form the hydrogensulphite addition product with NaHSO3.
2. The pentaacetate of glucose does not react with hydroxylamine indicating the absence of free —CHO group.
3. Glucose is found to exist in two different crystalline forms which are named as α and β. The α-form of glucose (m.p. 419 K) is obtained by crystallisation from concentrated solution of glucose at 303 K while the β-form (m.p. 423 K) is obtained by crystallisation from hot and saturated aqueous solution at 371 K.
This behaviour could not be explained by the open chain structure (I) for glucose. It was proposed that one of the —OH groups may add to the —CHO group and form a cyclic hemiacetal structure. It was found that glucose forms a six-membered ring in which —OH at C-5 is involved in ring formation. This explains the absence of —CHO group and also existence of glucose in two forms as shown below. These two cyclic forms exist in equilibrium with open chain structure.
The two cyclic hemiacetal forms of glucose differ only in the configuration of the hydroxyl group at C1, called anomeric carbon (the aldehyde carbon before cyclisation). Such isomers, i.e., α-form and β-form, are called anomers. The six membered cyclic structure of glucose is called pyranose structure (α– or β–), in analogy with pyran. Pyran is a cyclic organic compound with one oxygen atom and five carbon atoms in the ring. The cyclic structure of glucose is more correctly represented by Haworth structure as given below.
Fructose is an important ketohexose. It is obtained along with glucose by the hydrolysis of disaccharide, sucrose. It is a natural monosaccharide found in fruits, honey and vegetables. In its pure form it is used as a sweetner. It is also an important ketohexose.
Fructose also has the molecular formula C6H12O6 and on the basis of its reactions it was found to contain a ketonic functional group at carbon number 2 and six carbons in straight chain as in the case of glucose. It belongs to D-series and is a laevorotatory compound. It is appropriately written as D-(–)-fructose. Its open chain structure is as shown.
It also exists in two cyclic forms which are obtained by the addition of —OH at C5 to the () group. The ring, thus formed is a five membered ring and is named as furanose with analogy to the compound furan. Furan is a five membered cyclic compound with one oxygen and four carbon atoms.
The cyclic structures of two anomers of fructose are represented by Haworth structures as given.
You have already read that disaccharides on hydrolysis with dilute acids or enzymes yield two molecules of either the same or different monosaccharides. The two monosaccharides are joined together by an oxide linkage formed by the loss of a water molecule. Such a linkage between two monosaccharide units through oxygen atom is called glycosidic linkage.
In disaccharides, if the reducing groups of monosaccharides i.e., aldehydic or ketonic groups are bonded, these are non-reducing sugars, e.g., sucrose. On the other hand, sugars in which these functional groups are free, are called reducing sugars, for example, maltose and lactose.
(i) Sucrose: One of the common disaccharides is sucrose which on hydrolysis gives equimolar mixture of D-(+)-glucose and D-(-) fructose.
These two monosaccharides are held together by a glycosidic linkage between C1 of α-D-glucose and C2 of β-D-fructose. Since the reducing groups of glucose and fructose are involved in glycosidic bond formation, sucrose is a non reducing sugar.
Sucrose is dextrorotatory but after hydrolysis gives dextrorotatory glucose and laevorotatory fructose. Since the laevorotation of fructose (–92.4°) is more than dextrorotation of glucose (+ 52.5°), the mixture is laevorotatory. Thus, hydrolysis of sucrose brings about a change in the sign of rotation, from dextro (+) to laevo (–) and the product is named as invert sugar.
(ii) Maltose: Another disaccharide, maltose is composed of two α-D-glucose units in which C1 of one glucose (I) is linked to C4 of another glucose unit (II). The free aldehyde group can be produced at C1 of second glucose in solution and it shows reducing properties so it is a reducing sugar.
(iii) Lactose: It is more commonly known as milk sugar since this disaccharide is found in milk. It is composed of β-D-galactose and β-D-glucose. The linkage is between C1 of galactose and C4 of glucose. Free aldehyde group may be produced at C-1 of glucose unit, hence it is also a reducing sugar.
Polysaccharides contain a large number of monosaccharide units joined together by glycosidic linkages. These are the most commonly encountered carbohydrates in nature. They mainly act as the food storage or structural materials.
(i) Starch: Starch is the main storage polysaccharide of plants. It is the most important dietary source for human beings. High content of starch is found in cereals, roots, tubers and some vegetables. It is a polymer of α-glucose and consists of two components—Amylose and Amylopectin. Amylose is water soluble component which constitutes about 15-20% of starch. Chemically amylose is a long unbranched chain with 200-1000 α-D-(+)-glucose units held together by C1– C4 glycosidic linkage.
Amylopectin is insoluble in water and constitutes about 80-85% of starch. It is a branched chain polymer of α-D-glucose units in which chain is formed by C1–C4 glycosidic linkage whereas branching occurs by C1–C6 glycosidic linkage.
(ii) Cellulose: Cellulose occurs exclusively in plants and it is the most abundant organic substance in plant kingdom. It is a predominant constituent of cell wall of plant cells. Cellulose is a straight chain polysaccharide composed only of β-D-glucose units which are joined by glycosidic linkage between C1 of one glucose unit and C4 of the next glucose unit.
(iii) Glycogen: The carbohydrates are stored in animal body as glycogen. It is also known as animal starch because its structure is similar to amylopectin and is rather more highly branched. It is present in liver, muscles and brain. When the body needs glucose, enzymes break the glycogen down to glucose. Glycogen is also found in yeast and fungi.
14.1.5 Importance of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are essential for life in both plants and animals. They form a major portion of our food. Honey has been used for a long time as an instant source of energy by ‘Vaids’ in ayurvedic system of medicine. Carbohydrates are used as storage molecules as starch in plants and glycogen in animals. Cell wall of bacteria and plants is made up of cellulose. We build furniture, etc. from cellulose in the form of wood and clothe ourselves with cellulose in the form of cotton fibre.
They provide raw materials for many important industries like textiles, paper, lacquers and breweries.
Two aldopentoses viz. D-ribose and 2-deoxy-D-ribose (Section 14.5.1, Class XII) are present in nucleic acids. Carbohydrates are found in biosystem in combination with many proteins and lipids.
14.1 Glucose or sucrose are soluble in water but cyclohexane or benzene (simple six membered ring compounds) are insoluble in water. Explain.
14.2 What are the expected products of hydrolysis of lactose?
14.3 How do you explain the absence of aldehyde group in the pentaacetate of D-glucose?
Proteins are the most abundant biomolecules of the living system. Chief sources of proteins are milk, cheese, pulses, peanuts, fish, meat, etc. They occur in every part of the body and form the fundamental basis of structure and functions of life. They are also required for growth and maintenance of body. The word protein is derived from Greek word, “proteios” which means primary or of prime importance. All proteins are polymers of α-amino acids.
14.2.1 Amino Acids
Amino acids contain amino (–NH2) and carboxyl (–COOH) functional groups. Depending upon the relative position of amino group with respect to carboxyl group, the amino acids can be classified as α, β, γ, δ and so on. Only α-amino acids are obtained on hydrolysis of proteins. They may contain other functional groups also.
All α-amino acids have trivial names, which usually reflect the property of that compound or its source. Glycine is so named since it has sweet taste (in Greek glykos means sweet) and tyrosine was first obtained from cheese (in Greek, tyros means cheese.) Amino acids are generally represented by a three letter symbol, sometimes one letter symbol is also used. Structures of some commonly occurring amino acids along with their 3-letter and 1-letter symbols are given in Table 14.2.
Table 14.2: Natural Amino Acids
14.2.2 Classification of Amino Acids
Amino acids are classified as acidic, basic or neutral depending upon the relative number of amino and carboxyl groups in their molecule. Equal number of amino and carboxyl groups makes it neutral; more number of amino than carboxyl groups makes it basic and more carboxyl groups as compared to amino groups makes it acidic. The amino acids, which can be synthesised in the body, are known as non-essential amino acids. On the other hand, those which cannot be synthesised in the body and must be obtained through diet, are known as essential amino acids (marked with asterisk in Table 14.2).
Amino acids are usually colourless, crystalline solids. These are water-soluble, high melting solids and behave like salts rather than simple amines or carboxylic acids. This behaviour is due to the presence of both acidic (carboxyl group) and basic (amino group) groups in the same molecule. In aqueous solution, the carboxyl group can lose a proton and amino group can accept a proton, giving rise to a dipolar ion known as zwitter ion. This is neutral but contains both positive and negative charges.
In zwitter ionic form, amino acids show amphoteric behaviour as they react both with acids and bases.
Except glycine, all other naturally occurring α-amino acids are optically active, since the α-carbon atom is asymmetric. These exist both in ‘D’ and ‘L’ forms. Most naturally occurring amino acids have L-configuration. L-Aminoacids are represented by writing the –NH2 group on left hand side.
14.2.3 Structure of Proteins
You have already read that proteins are the polymers of α-amino acids and they are connected to each other by peptide bond or peptide linkage. Chemically, peptide linkage is an amide formed between
–COOH group and –NH2 group. The reaction between two molecules of similar or different amino acids, proceeds through the combination of the amino group of one molecule with the carboxyl group of the other. This results in the elimination of a water molecule and formation of a peptide bond –CO–NH–. The product of the reaction is called a dipeptide because it is made up of two amino acids. For example, when carboxyl group of glycine combines with the amino group of alanine we get a dipeptide, glycylalanine.
If a third amino acid combines to a dipeptide, the product is called a tripeptide. A tripeptide contains three amino acids linked by two peptide linkages. Similarly when four, five or six amino acids are linked, the respective products are known as tetrapeptide, pentapeptide or hexapeptide, respectively. When the number of such amino acids is more than ten, then the products are called polypeptides. A polypeptide with more than hundred amino acid residues, having molecular mass higher than 10,000u is called a protein. However, the distinction between a polypeptide and a protein is not very sharp. Polypeptides with fewer amino acids are likely to be called proteins if they ordinarily have a well defined conformation of a protein such as insulin which contains 51 amino acids.
Proteins can be classified into two types on the basis of their molecular shape.
(a) Fibrous proteins
When the polypeptide chains run parallel and are held together by hydrogen and disulphide bonds, then fibre– like structure is formed. Such proteins are generally insoluble in water. Some common examples are keratin (present in hair, wool, silk) and myosin (present in muscles), etc.
(b) Globular proteins
This structure results when the chains of polypeptides coil around to give a spherical shape. These are usually soluble in water. Insulin and albumins are the common examples of globular proteins.
Structure and shape of proteins can be studied at four different levels, i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary, each level being more complex than the previous one.
Fig. 14.1: α-Helix structure of proteins
(i) Primary structure of proteins: Proteins may have one or more polypeptide chains. Each polypeptide in a protein has amino acids linked with each other in a specific sequence and it is this sequence of amino acids that is said to be the primary structure of that protein. Any change in this primary structure i.e., the sequence of amino acids creates a different protein.
(ii) Secondary structure of proteins: The secondary structure of protein refers to the shape in which a long polypeptide chain can exist. They are found to exist in two different types of structures viz. α-helix and
β-pleated sheet structure. These structures arise due to the regular folding of the backbone of the polypeptide chain due to hydrogen bonding between and –NH– groups of the peptide bond.
α-Helix is one of the most common ways in which a polypeptide chain forms all possible hydrogen bonds by twisting into a right handed screw (helix) with the
–NH group of each amino acid residue hydrogen bonded to the of an adjacent turn of the helix as shown in Fig.14.1.
In β-pleated sheet structure all peptide chains are stretched out to nearly maximum extension and then laid side by side which are held together by intermolecular hydrogen bonds. The structure resembles the pleated folds of drapery and therefore is known as β-pleated sheet.
(iii) Tertiary structure of proteins: The tertiary structure of proteins represents overall folding of the polypeptide chains i.e., further folding of the secondary structure. It gives rise to two major molecular shapes viz. fibrous and globular. The main forces which stabilise the 2° and 3° structures of proteins are hydrogen bonds, disulphide linkages, van der Waals and electrostatic forces of attraction.
(iv) Quaternary structure of proteins: Some of the proteins are composed of two or more polypeptide chains referred to as sub-units. The spatial arrangement of these subunits with respect to each other is known as quaternary structure.
Fig. 14.3: Diagrammatic representation of protein structure (two sub-units of two types in quaternary structure)
Fig. 14.4: Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of haemoglobin
14.2.4 Denaturation of Proteins
A diagrammatic representation of all these four structures is given in Figure 14.3 where each coloured ball represents an amino acid.
Protein found in a biological system with a unique three-dimensional structure and biological activity is called a native protein. When a protein in its native form, is subjected to physical change like change in temperature or chemical change like change in pH, the hydrogen bonds are disturbed. Due to this, globules unfold and helix get uncoiled and protein loses its biological activity. This is called denaturation of protein. During denaturation secondary and tertiary structures are destroyed but primary structure remains intact. The coagulation of egg white on boiling is a common example of denaturation. Another example is curdling of milk which is caused due to the formation of lactic acid by the bacteria present in milk.
14.4 The melting points and solubility in water of amino acids are generally higher than that of the corresponding halo acids. Explain.
14.5 Where does the water present in the egg go after boiling the egg?
Life is possible due to the coordination of various chemical reactions in living organisms. An example is the digestion of food, absorption of appropriate molecules and ultimately production of energy. This process involves a sequence of reactions and all these reactions occur in the body under very mild conditions. This occurs with the help of certain biocatalysts called enzymes. Almost all the enzymes are globular proteins. Enzymes are very specific for a particular reaction and for a particular substrate. They are generally named after the compound or class of compounds upon which they work. For example, the enzyme that catalyses hydrolysis of maltose into glucose is named as maltase.
14.3.1 Mechanism of Enzyme Action
Sometimes enzymes are also named after the reaction, where they are used. For example, the enzymes which catalyse the oxidation of one substrate with simultaneous reduction of another substrate are named as oxidoreductase enzymes. The ending of the name of an enzyme is -ase.
Enzymes are needed only in small quantities for the progress of a reaction. Similar to the action of chemical catalysts, enzymes are said to reduce the magnitude of activation energy. For example, activation energy for acid hydrolysis of sucrose is 6.22 kJ mol–1, while the activation energy is only 2.15 kJ mol–1 when hydrolysed by the enzyme, sucrase. Mechanism for the enzyme action has been discussed in Unit 5.
It has been observed that certain organic compounds are required in small amounts in our diet but their deficiency causes specific diseases. These compounds are called vitamins. Most of the vitamins cannot be synthesised in our body but plants can synthesise almost all of them, so they are considered as essential food factors. However, the bacteria of the gut can produce some of the vitamins required by us. All the vitamins are generally available in our diet. Different vitamins belong to various chemical classes and it is difficult to define them on the basis of structure. They are generally regarded as organic compounds required in the diet in small amounts to perform specific biological functions for normal maintenance of optimum growth and health of the organism. Vitamins are designated by alphabets A, B, C, D, etc. Some of them are further named as sub-groups e.g. B1, B2, B6, B12, etc. Excess of vitamins is also harmful and vitamin pills should not be taken without the advice of doctor.
14.4.1 Classification of Vitamins
The term “Vitamine” was coined from the word vital + amine since the earlier identified compounds had amino groups. Later work showed that most of them did not contain amino groups, so the letter ‘e’ was dropped and the term vitamin is used these days.
Vitamins are classified into two groups depending upon their solubility in water or fat.
(i) Fat soluble vitamins: Vitamins which are soluble in fat and oils but insoluble in water are kept in this group. These are vitamins A, D, E and K. They are stored in liver and adipose (fat storing) tissues.
(ii) Water soluble vitamins: B group vitamins and vitamin C are soluble in water so they are grouped together. Water soluble vitamins must be supplied regularly in diet because they are readily excreted in urine and cannot be stored (except vitamin B12) in our body.
Some important vitamins, their sources and diseases caused by their deficiency are listed in Table 14.3.
14.5 Nucleic Acids
James Dewey Watson
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1928, Dr Watson received his Ph.D. (1950) from Indiana University in Zoology. He is best known for his discovery of the structure of DNA for which he shared with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins the 1962 Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine. They proposed that DNA molecule takes the shape of a double helix, an elegantly simple structure that resembles a gently twisted ladder. The rails of the ladder are made of alternating units of phosphate and the sugar deoxyribose; the rungs are each composed of a pair of purine/ pyrimidine bases. This research laid the foundation for the emerging field of molecular biology. The complementary pairing of nucleotide bases explains how identical copies of parental DNA pass on to two daughter cells. This research launched a revolution in biology that led to modern recombinant DNA techniques.
14.5.1 Chemical Composition of Nucleic Acids
Complete hydrolysis of DNA (or RNA) yields a pentose sugar, phosphoric acid and nitrogen containing heterocyclic compounds (called bases). In DNA molecules, the sugar moiety is β-D-2-deoxyribose whereas in RNA molecule, it is β-D-ribose.
14.5.2 Structure of Nucleic Acids
A unit formed by the attachment of a base to 1′ position of sugar is known as nucleoside. In nucleosides, the sugar carbons are numbered as 1′, 2′, 3′, etc. in order to distinguish these from the bases
(Fig. 14.5a). When nucleoside is linked to phosphoric acid at 5′-position of sugar moiety, we get a nucleotide (Fig. 14.5).
Nucleotides are joined together by phosphodiester linkage between 5′ and 3′ carbon atoms of the pentose sugar. The formation of a typical dinucleotide is shown in Fig. 14.6.
Fig. 14.6: Formation of a dinucleotide
A simplified version of nucleic acid chain is as shown below.
Information regarding the sequence of nucleotides in the chain of a nucleic acid is called its primary structure. Nucleic acids have a secondary structure also. James Watson and Francis Crick gave a double strand helix structure for DNA (Fig. 14.7). Two nucleic acid chains are wound about each other and held together by hydrogen bonds between pairs of bases. The two strands are complementary to each other because the hydrogen bonds are formed between specific pairs of bases. Adenine forms hydrogen bonds with thymine whereas cytosine forms hydrogen bondswith guanine.
Fig. 14.7: Double strand helix structure for DNA
In secondary structure of RNA single stranded helics is present which sometimes foldsback on itself. RNA molecules are of three types and they perform different functions. They are named as messenger RNA (m-RNA), ribosomal RNA (r-RNA) and transfer RNA (t-RNA).
Har Gobind Khorana
Har Gobind Khorana, was born in 1922. He obtained his M.Sc. degree from Punjab University in Lahore. He worked with Professor Vladimir Prelog, who moulded Khorana’s thought and philosophy towards science, work and effort. After a brief stay in India in 1949, Khorana went back to England and worked with Professor G.W. Kenner and Professor A.R.Todd. It was at Cambridge, U.K. that he got interested in both proteins and nucleic acids. Dr Khorana shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1968 with Marshall Nirenberg and Robert Holley for cracking the genetic code.
It is known that every individual has unique fingerprints. These occur at the tips of the fingers and have been used for identification for a long time but these can be altered by surgery. A sequence of bases on DNA is also unique for a person and information regarding this is called DNA fingerprinting. It is same for every cell and cannot be altered by any known treatment. DNA fingerprinting is now used
(i) in forensic laboratories for identification of criminals.
(ii) to determine paternity of an individual.
(iii) to identify the dead bodies in any accident by comparing the DNA’s of parents or children.
(iv) to identify racial groups to rewrite biological evolution.
14.5.3 Biological Functions of Nucleic Acids
DNA is the chemical basis of heredity and may be regarded as the reserve of genetic information. DNA is exclusively responsible for maintaining the identity of different species of organisms over millions of years. A DNA molecule is capable of self duplication during cell division and identical DNA strands are transferred to daughter cells. Another important function of nucleic acids is the protein synthesis in the cell. Actually, the proteins are synthesised by various RNA molecules in the cell but the message for the synthesis of a particular protein is present in DNA.
Hormones are molecules that act as intercellular messengers. These are produced by endocrine glands in the body and are poured directly in the blood stream which transports them to the site of action.
In terms of chemical nature, some of these are steroids, e.g., estrogens and androgens; some are poly peptides for example insulin and endorphins and some others are amino acid derivatives such as epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Hormones have several functions in the body. They help to maintain the balance of biological activities in the body. The role of insulin in keeping the blood glucose level within the narrow limit is an example of this function. Insulin is released in response to the rapid rise in blood glucose level. On the other hand hormone glucagon tends to increase the glucose level in the blood. The two hormones together regulate the glucose level in the blood. Epinephrine and norepinephrine mediate responses to external stimuli. Growth hormones and sex hormones play role in growth and development. Thyroxine produced in the thyroid gland is an iodinated derivative of amino acid tyrosine. Abnormally low level of thyroxine leads to hypothyroidism which is characterised by lethargyness and obesity. Increased level of thyroxine causes hyperthyroidism. Low level of iodine in the diet may lead to hypothyroidism and enlargement of the thyroid gland. This condition is largely being controlled by adding sodium iodide to commercial table salt (“Iodised” salt).
Steroid hormones are produced by adrenal cortex and gonads (testes in males and ovaries in females). Hormones released by the adrenal cortex play very important role in the functions of the body. For example, glucocorticoids control the carbohydrate metabolism, modulate inflammatory reactions, and are involved in reactions to stress. The mineralocorticoids control the level of excretion of water and salt by the kidney. If adrenal cortex does not function properly then one of the results may be Addison’s disease characterised by hypoglycemia, weakness and increased susceptibility to stress. The disease is fatal unless it is treated by glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Hormones released by gonads are responsible for development of secondary sex characters. Testosterone is the major sex hormone produced in males. It is responsible for development of secondary male characteristics (deep voice, facial hair, general physical constitution) and estradiol is the main female sex hormone. It is responsible for development of secondary female characteristics and participates in the control of menstrual cycle. Progesterone is responsible for preparing the uterus for implantation of fertilised egg.
14.6 Why cannot vitamin C be stored in our body?
14.7 What products would be formed when a nucleotide from DNA containing thymine is hydrolysed?
14.8 When RNA is hydrolysed, there is no relationship among the quantities of different bases obtained.
Carbohydrates are optically active polyhydroxy aldehydes or ketones or molecules which provide such units on hydrolysis. They are broadly classified into three groups — monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Glucose, the most important source of energy for mammals, is obtained by the digestion of starch. Monosaccharides are held together by glycosidic linkages to form disaccharides or polysaccharides.
Proteins are the polymers of about twenty different α-amino acids which are linked by peptide bonds. Ten amino acids are called essential amino acids because they cannot be synthesised by our body, hence must be provided through diet. Proteins perform various structural and dynamic functions in the organisms. Proteins which contain only α-amino acids are called simple proteins. The secondary or tertiary structure of proteins get disturbed on change of pH or temperature and they are not able to perform their functions. This is called denaturation of proteins. Enzymes are biocatalysts which speed up the reactions in biosystems. They are very specific and selective in their action and chemically all enzymes are proteins.
Vitamins are accessory food factors required in the diet. They are classified as fat soluble (A, D, E and K) and water soluble (Β group and C). Deficiency of vitamins leads to many diseases.
Nucleic acids are the polymers of nucleotides which in turn consist of a base, a pentose sugar and phosphate moiety. Nucleic acids are responsible for the transfer of characters from parents to offsprings. There are two types of nucleic acids — DNA and RNA. DNA contains a five carbon sugar molecule called 2-deoxyribose whereas RNA contains ribose. Both DNA and RNA contain adenine, guanine and cytosine. The fourth base is thymine in DNA and uracil in RNA. The structure of DNA is a double strand whereas RNA is a single strand molecule. DNA is the chemical basis of heredity and have the coded message for proteins to be synthesised in the cell. There are three types of RNA — mRNA, rRNA and tRNA which actually carry out the protein synthesis in the cell.