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Macromolecule

The literal definition of the term macromolecule implies large molecule.

In the context of science and engineering, the term may be applied to conventional polymers and biopolymers (such as DNA) as well as non-polymeric molecules with large molecular mass such as lipids or macrocycles.

However, other large networks of atoms, such as metallic covalent networks or fullerenes, are not generally described as macromolecules.

Because of their size, macromolecules are not conveniently described in terms of stoichiometry alone.

The structure of simple macromolecules, such as homopolymers, may be described in terms of the individual monomer subunit and total molecular mass.

Complicated biomacromolecules, on the other hand, require multi-faceted structural description such as the hierarchy of structures used to describe proteins.

Substances that are composed of macromolecules often have unusual physical properties.

For example, individual pieces of DNA in solution can be broken in two simply by suctioning the solution through an ordinary straw.

This is not true of smaller molecules.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Macromolecule", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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