All living beings on the planet are composed of cells, the smallest living part of these organisms. These structures are extremely complex and formed by several substances, which were only discovered thanks to the advance of Biochemistry , part of Biology that studies all the chemical processes that occur in organisms.
Several substances participate in the composition of a single cell and can be classified into two basic types: organic substances and inorganic substances . Inorganic ones are those that do not have carbon in their composition, while organic ones have this element.
The inorganic substances found in the cell are water and mineral salts. The water is the most abundant substance in all living beings and is essential for their survival, it is an excellent solvent, besides acting carrying substances and taking part in chemical reactions. Already the minerals have the most varied functions such as nerve impulse conduction and performance in clotting.
Among the organic substances, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates stand out. The proteins are formed by amino acids – molecules consisting of carbon atoms, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. They have several functions in our body, such as the structural and transport function, acting as enzymes and forming antibodies.
The lipids , commonly known as fats, are substances insoluble in water and soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol and chloroform. They act as an energy reserve and thermal insulator, participate in metabolic processes, form cell membranes and some hormones, protect organs from impacts, among other functions.
The carbohydrates which also receive the name of carbohydrates or sugars, are without doubt the main energy source of cells, and act to form the cell wall and nucleic acids. They are classified into monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.
In this section we will go deeper into the study of organic and inorganic substances found in cells. We will mainly focus on the structure and importance of these substances for our survival and that of other living beings.