Amino Acid Properties, Molecular Formula, Applications - WorldOfChemicals

Amino Acid Properties

Amino Acid

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Amino Acids are biologically important organic compounds containing amine (-NH2) and carboxyl (-COOH) functional groups, along with a side-chain (R group) specific to each amino acid. The key elements of an amino acid are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, though other elements are found in the side-chains of certain amino acids. About 500 amino acids are known (though only 20 appear in the genetic code) and can be classified in many ways.Amino acids are the structural units (monomers) that make up proteins. They join together to form short polymer chains called peptides or longer chains called either polypeptides or proteins. These polymers are linear and unbranched, with each amino acid within the chain attached to two neighboring amino acids.Twenty-two amino acids are naturally incorporated into polypeptides and are called proteinogenic or natural amino acids.Amino acids are used for a variety of applications in industry, but their main use is as additives to animal feed.The food industry is also a major consumer of amino acids, in particular, glutamic acid, which is used as a flavor enhancer,and aspartame (aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester) as a low-calorie artificial sweetener. Amino acids are important as low-cost feedstocks. These compounds are used in chiral pool synthesis as enantiomerically pure building-blocks.Amino acids have been investigated as precursors chiral catalysts, e.g., for asymmetric hydrogenation reactions, although no commercial applications exist.Amino acids are under development as components of a range of biodegradable polymers. These materials have applications as environmentally friendly packaging and in medicine in drug delivery and the construction of prosthetic implants.

Chemical Properties