Essential Amino Acids

Authored by: M-Concepción Aristoy , Fidel Toldrá

Handbook of Analysis of Active Compounds in Functional Foods

Print publication date:  January  2012
Online publication date:  January  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439815885
eBook ISBN: 9781439815908
Adobe ISBN:


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Amino acids play a double role on living cells as building blocks of proteins and as intermediates in metabolism. Amino acids are organic compounds which contain both an amino group (pK by 9) and a carboxyl group (pK by 2) bound to a specific side chain which confers characteristic properties to each amino acid. The precise amino acid content, and the sequence of amino acids, of a specific protein, determines the biological activity of that protein. In addition, proteins contain within their amino acid sequences the necessary information to determine how that protein will fold into a three-dimensional structure, and the stability of the resulting structure. As a result, the characteristics of even a small, relatively simple, protein are a composite of the properties of the amino acids which comprise the protein. That is why each amino acid within a protein is unique and irreplaceable.

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