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Polyphosphates are phosphate polymers linked between hydroxyl groups and hydrogen atoms. The polymerization that takes place is known as a condensation reaction. Phosphate chemical bonds are typically high-energy covalent bonds, which means that energy is available upon breaking such bonds in spontaneous or enzyme catalyzed reactions. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an example of a phosphate trimer, a polymer with three phosphate groups.
Additional recommended knowledge
Examples of Polyphosphates
DNA is built on a type of phosphate/sugar copolymer. Essentially, it consists of alternating deoxyribose and phosphate groups linked together to form a chain or backbone. Nucleotide bases attach to the sugar and form hydrogen bonds with a bases on a complementary chain. The entire system consists of two long chains which coil up in a helix-like structure. RNA is similar, the two differences being, the sugar ribose being used in the phosphate/sugar backbone rather than deoxyribose and uracil being used instead of thymine as the aromatic base.
Sodium tri-polyphosphate (Na5P3O10) has been used widely as a constituent of laundry detergents, acting as a water softener in hard water regions and improving detergent performance. In recent years, concern has grown that this results in substantial amounts of phosphates entering the sewage system and thence to watercourses, resulting in eutrophication. This has led to the amounts of polyphosphates in detergents being legally controlled in a number of countries (e.g., Germany, Italy, Austria).
High-polymeric Inorganic Polyphosphates
High-polymeric inorganic polyphosphates were found in living organisms by L. Liberman in 1890. These compounds are linear polymers containing a few to several hundred residues of orthophosphate linked by energy-rich phosphoanhydride bonds.
Previously, it was considered either as “molecular fossil” or as only a phosphorus and energy source providing the survival of microorganisms under extreme conditions. These compounds now known to also have regulatory roles and to occur in representatives of all kingdoms of living organisms, participating in metabolic correction and control on both genetic and enzymatic levels. Polyphosphate is directly involved in the switching-over of the genetic program characteristic of the logarithmic growth stage of bacteria to the program of cell survival under stationary conditions, “a life in the slow line”. They participate in many regulatory mechanisms occurring in bacteria:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Polyphosphate". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|