Why are organic molecules important to living things?

1 Answer
May 14, 2015

Organic molecules are important to living things because life is based on the properties of carbon.

Properties of Carbon

  • Carbon is an important element because it can form four covalent bonds.
  • Carbon skeletons can vary in length, branching, and ring structure.
  • The carbon skeletons contain the functional groups that are involved in biochemical reactions.

Four types of organic molecules are important for life.



  • Are made of sugar molecules.
  • Provide energy and structure.


Lipids are a large class of hydrophobic organic molecules.

  • Fats are made of glycerol plus fatty acids; they serve as a backup source of energy.
  • Phospholipids contain polar and nonpolar groups; they form cellular membranes.
  • Steroids have a characteristic ring structure; they include cholesterol and various hormones.

Nucleic acids

  • Consist of long chains of nucleotides.
  • Are the molecules of the genetic code.
  • Are also important as energy carriers.


  • Consist of long chains of amino acids.
  • Are necessary for growth and repair of tissues.
  • Are crucial to life and perform a wide range of functions.