By MICHAEL JOHN UGLO GOOD day all and welcome to the lecture. It is only appropriate that we have to link all the sciences we have gone through so far for an articulate view and their interconnections for the understanding of the sciences better in this science and technology age. These can be also categorised as the applied sciences knowledge base. That is biology with chemistry in biochemistry, biology with physics in biophysics, geology with physics in geophysics which we have already gone through and geology with chemistry as in geochemistry. Hence, this next series of lectures will follow the above premise for grounding the sciences prior to going into the sciences of computers and technology as mentioned before last week. That said let us commence with biochemistry. As interesting as it may seem, the field of biochemistry stems from the discovery a chemical substance called amylase which is the enzyme that is found in the saliva in your mouth. When you eat a starchy food like sweet potato, biscuit, taro, yam or sago, this enzyme in saliva firstly acts on the starch to break it down. Since starch is a complex sugar known as polysaccharides when broken down, you will taste sugar in your mouth because starch is broken down into units called the double and then the single sugars known respectively as disaccharides like sucrose from cane sugar. Then it is further broken into monosaccharides like glucose with fructose from fruits or even lactose as a disaccharide from milk formed from a combination of galactose and glucose as monosaccharides. Enzymes are the organic catalysts that speed up chemical reactions by reducing the activation energy of the reactants also known as substrates. All chemical reactions taking place in living things like plants, animals and microbes are catalysed by enzymes. The enzymes get denatured very quickly with rising temperature. Each gene produces an enzyme for chemical reactions like in glycolysis, Kreb’s or citric acid cycle or phosphorolysis that takes place inside a living cell. The different enzymes allow for the various chemical reactions such as glycolysis to produce two molecules of pyruvate as well as two molecules of ATP as the energy legal tender for the metabolites and reducing and oxidizing agents such as NAD+ (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in oxidized form as well as the NADH (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in reduced form respectively. The product pyruvate is to go to the mitochondria as a master fuel. As we know, mitochondria are the power house for all the cells and this is how it obtains its source of fuel. A second discovery was made in the fermentation of sugar into alcohol and production of carbon dioxide as a bi-product. Also further, there was the synthesis of an organic molecule which was initially thought impossible. Potassium cyanate was combined with ammonium sulphate to produce urea. The vitality principle that was thought to be unique to life and cannot be synthesized artificially was put to a lot of debate especially with the advances in biochemistry discoveries and methods.
As we combine biology with chemistry to investigate interaction of atoms and molecules with the chemical pathways for the vital chemical reactions in the life of plants, animals and the microbes, three topics take precedence to illuminate each in perspective. These are the study of the structural biology, the study of enzymology and the third is metabolism. These studies reveal most if not all there is to know about life being uncovered. For instance, the study of medicine on finding the causes of diseases and prescribing the correct drug and medication, the study of nutrition for good health and wellbeing as well as its application in agriculture about the chemical analysis and content of the soil with the fertilizers as well as crop harvest, storage with weeds and pests control. There are six vital elements that form almost 99 per cent of the living things or organisms. These are carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus. Almost eighteen (18) elements are required in minute amounts to maintain the healthy state of a person. In biochemistry there are four major molecules known as biomolecules to be accounted for in this study. These major biomolecules are the carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids and the lipids. The biomolecules or the biological molecules are biopolymers which are bigger structures formed from smaller bio monomers which are the building blocks. The bio monomers undergo a process called dehydration in which there is release of a water molecule for two monomers to combine or form in an ester bond also known as a glycosidic bond. This process allows for the formation of a polymer of a lipid, a protein, a carbohydrate or a nucleic acid. The reverse process of this is called a hydrolysis where by a disaccharide is broken into two monosaccharides. The carbohydrates are a general name with a formula CnH2nOn in which the ration of the Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen in the structural formula is 1:2:1 which includes the sugars like single or monosaccharides, double or disaccharides and multi or the polysaccharides. The Deoxyribose C5H10O4 being a major constituent of DNA in organisms is also a monosaccharide. Not all carbohydrates are sugars as there are many carbohydrates as biomolecules on the earth than any other. The functions of the carbohydrates are to store energy and uphold structure as well as hold genetic information to transfer from the cells through transamination. Furthermore, carbohydrates are used for interactions between and among the cells as well for communication. Monosaccharides can switch between an acyclic chain such as aliphatic molecules as well as cyclic molecules as well as planar structures. A hydroxyl ion from a chain structure at one end of a chain can be used to become a cyclic structure with a carbonyl group at the other end as bridged by an oxygen atom. When a few monosaccharides like three to six of which are joined, they from a structure called oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides are used as signal bearers for various purposes and functions depending on the kinds of structures they form. The reactions with monosaccharides in the formation of the polysaccharides in the chains in linear or cyclic forms involve aldose with ketose as monosaccharides. These structures can be a long linear chain or a branched chain. The monomers form the polymers such as starch and glycogen. These are respectively found in the cellulose in the plants’ cell wall and the glycogen which is found in the animals as an energy storage depot. My prayer for PNG today is: “God sent His Son, They called Him Jesus, He came to love, Heal and Forgive. He bled and died, to buy my pardon, an empty grave is there to prove, My Savior lives…Because He lives…” Next week: The molecules of life 1 3 Propanediol Manufacturer
A NEW dynamic local resource developer has stepped up onto the plate to participate in development with ownership and management by indigenous Papua New Guinean professionals. Newly established Infinity Blue (PNG) Ltd aims to create sustainable enterprises utilising the rich natural resources both in the terrestrial and marine environments, and our cultural resources in PNG. The company aims to develop quality products from natural resources to meet customer preferences including payments for ecosystem services (PES) such as carbon, nature tourism, and water and energy resources establishing robust and equitable partnerships with the local communities for equal benefit sharing. According to company chairman Timothy Bikit, our country is blessed with a rich bounty of natural resources all around both on land and sea, topped with a unique and diverse culture, but we have not been able to tap the true potential of these resources by creating modern enterprises through research and development (R&D), innovation and knowledge, technology and understanding of the modern financial system and international trade and investments. Bikit further stressed that the time for us to take ownership of our resource is long overdue. “We have travelled the globe in the last few decades since gaining political independence in 1975, in our capacities at government, private sector and NGO levels to see systems and institutions that others have figured out themselves already. But we are yet to figure out what we must do in our country and to build sustainable businesses or enterprises with the modern know-how using the potential of our human capital to catalyse our local economies and create jobs and educational opportunities for our people. “Instead, we go see other places and talk about the ideas they have implemented but we continue to allow outsiders to come into our country and reap the benefits of our resources while we toil as labourers in our own land and lose out big time. A complete paradigm shift is long overdue in our country. We must change our economic pathway now to become more prosperous from our bounty of natural and cultural resources,” said Bikit. In addition, we must adapt to the modern world and the cash economy concepts by helping our people understand the balance between our traditional Melanesian culture and the modern idea of businesses to be able to create and successfully operate businesses in the long run. Most importantly we must build strong governance systems to manage these enterprises and to guard against the scourge of corruption which has become systemic in our country. Obviously, we cannot expect to become industrialised with massive industries in the next 100 or so years but we can adopt some activities and scale of industrialisation from the west such as manufacturing or processing of our natural resources into quality products and utilisation of technology to create and sell these products to interested customers domestically and internationally. We acknowledge the mandate of the Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (Cepa) on our terrestrial and marine environments and we look forward to working closely with them on conservation programmes, the national Protected Areas Strategy for biodiversity and ecosystems conservation and alignment with national strategies and policies including the Climate Change and Development Authority (CCDA) on climate change mitigation and adaptation programs and the National Forest Authority (PNGFA) on forestry activities and the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) on fisheries activities, Department of Agriculture and Coffee and others such as Kokonas Industry Koporesen (KIK) and PNG Cocoa Board on agricultural activities. “For us at Infinity Blue, establishing a company is not just about products and profits; it’s about creating much broader social, environmental and community values or benefits and being able to sustain these efforts over the long-term. Also the future of the world lies in science, technology and economics (according to Microsoft’s Bill Gates), so we must explore innovative ideas within this spaces adopted into our context, people and culture,” said Bikit.
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Should PNG move away from being an aid recipient to becoming an equal partner with countries who gi
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