Health

Vegan diet significantly remodels metabolism in young children

University of Helsinki researchers report a comprehensive pilot study on the metabolic effects of full vegan diet on young children. The study found vegan children to have remarkably altered metabolism and lower vitamin A ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Hope for a vaccination against Staphylococcus areus infections?

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) ranks among the globally most important causes of infections in humans and is considered a dreaded hospital pathogen. Active and passive immunization against multi-resistant strains is seen ...

Medical research

Inflamed environment is Clostridioides difficile paradise

A new study from North Carolina State University shows that the inflammation caused by Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection gives the pathogen a two-fold advantage: by both creating an inhospitable environment for ...

Oncology & Cancer

Scientists develop approach for exploiting cancer's dietary demands

Numerous studies in mice and cancer cells have shown cancer growth can be reduced in response to diets lacking serine. But results have been variable because some cancer cells are efficient in making their own serine, particularly ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

BioNTech says can make mutation-beating vaccine in six weeks

The co-founder of BioNTech said Tuesday it was "highly likely" that its vaccine against the coronavirus works against the mutated strain detected in Britain, but it could also adapt the vaccine if necessary in six weeks.

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Amino acid

In chemistry, an amino acid is a molecule containing both amine and carboxyl functional groups. These molecules are particularly important in biochemistry, where this term refers to alpha-amino acids with the general formula H2NCHRCOOH, where R is an organic substituent. In the alpha amino acids, the amino and carboxylate groups are attached to the same carbon atom, which is called the α–carbon. The various alpha amino acids differ in which side chain (R group) is attached to their alpha carbon. They can vary in size from just a hydrogen atom in glycine through a methyl group in alanine to a large heterocyclic group in tryptophan.

Amino acids are critical to life, and have a variety of roles in metabolism. One particularly important function is as the building blocks of proteins, which are linear chains of amino acids. Amino acids are also important in many other biological molecules, such as forming parts of coenzymes, as in S-adenosylmethionine, or as precursors for the biosynthesis of molecules such as heme. Due to this central role in biochemistry, amino acids are very important in nutrition.

Amino acids are commonly used in food technology and industry. For example, monosodium glutamate is a common flavor enhancer that gives foods the taste called umami. Beyond the amino acids that are found in all forms of life, amino acids are also used in industry. Applications include the production of biodegradable plastics, drugs and chiral catalysts.

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