Food can be defined as any edible chemical substance consumed by living things for energy, growth, and development. Food can either be derived from plants or animals. A nucleic acid is a major component of both plant and animal cells. The two major nucleic acids present in both plants and animals are Ribonucleic acid (RNA) and Deoxyribonucleic acid(DNA). They both play a vital role in the growth and reproduction of plants and animals, ensuring consistent food production. Here, we’ll know What are the Examples of Nucleic Acid in Food?
Food is essential in the growth and reproduction of all living things. Food can be defined as any edible chemical substance consumed by living things for energy, growth, and development. Plant and animals are the major sources of food. Continuous growth and reproduction of plants and animals are essential for intermittent food supply to living things. In fact, it is not an overstatement by saying plants feed on animals and animals feed on the plant through some complex processes such as mineralization, respiration, parasitism, decomposition, to mention but a few. Both plants and animals are made of various chemical substances necessary for growth, reproduction, and metabolism. Nucleic acid is one important component both in plants and animals, if not even the most important. Two types of nucleic acid are present in both plants and animals. They are Ribonucleic acid (RNA) and (DNA)
WHAT IS NUCLEIC ACID?
Nucleic acids are a large biomolecule or biopolymer chemical compound that is crucial to all forms of life. Nucleic acids are polynucleotides; that is, they are made up of chains of nucleotides. Each nucleotide is made up of a hydrogen base attached to a pentose sugar and a phosphate group. Nucleic acid can be broken down to yield phosphoric acid, sugars, and a mixture of organic bases (purine and pyrimidine).
COMPONENTS OF NUCLEIC ACID
– Pentose sugar: This is often referred to as the 5-carbon sugar. It includes ribose sugar and deoxyribose sugar. Both ribose sugar and deoxyribose sugar have five carbon atoms and one oxygen atom. Hydrogen and hydroxyl groups are attached to the carbon atom. The salient difference between ribose sugar and deoxyribose sugar is that while the hydroxyl group is attached to the second and third carbon atom in ribose sugar, the hydroxyl group is absent in the second atom of deoxyribose sugar.
– Nitrogen base: The base in a nucleic acid is made up of nitrogen molecules. Nitrogen bases are always in the form of a ring. There are two types of nitrogen bases. They are purine and pyrimidine. Purine bases are adenine and guanine, while pyrimidine bases are thymine, guanine, and uracil. Purine is a double ring structure, while pyrimidine is a single ring structure.
– Phosphate group: Phosphate group comprises a phosphorus atom and four negatively charge Oxygen atoms attached to the phosphorus atom. The phosphate group is attached to the ribose sugar to form a nucleoside. The addition of a nitrogen base to the nucleoside forms a nucleotide. The phosphate group attaching to the pentose sugar forms a sugar-phosphate backbone for the backbone. The Phosphate group links adjacent nucleotides and forms a chain of nucleotides, which forms a nucleic acid.
– Nucleic acid bonds: The bonds are essential in the formation of nucleic acid. The bonds are glycosidic bond and ester bond. The bonds help in linking the phosphorus sugar with the nitrogen base. Glycosidic bonds exist between the first carbon of the ribose sugar and the ninth nitrogen atom in the nitrogen base. Ester bonds exist between the fifth carbon atom in a 5-carbon sugar and a phosphate group.
NUCLEIC ACID IN FOOD
The two nucleic acids In food are DNA and RNA since food sources are from both plants and animals. I will explicitly write about DNA and RNA in the subsequent paragraphs:
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a chemical compound that carries genetic materials in living things. It is located in the nucleus of a cell. DNA is the center of the storage of genetic information in animals and plants. DNA is always organized into chromosome which is often located on the gene. Structurally, DNA molecules consist of two strands that coil around each other to form a shape. The structure is always referred to as the double helix structure of DNA. Each strand is made up of chains of nucleotides. Each nucleotide comprises a pentose sugar called deoxyribose sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The nitrogenous base in DNA is adenine, guanine, thymine, and cytosine. The two strands are linked together by the bonds between the bases, e.g., Adenine bonds with thymine and cytosine bonds with guanine ( purine-pyrimidine base pair)
Functions of DNA in plant and animal:
DNA plays a major role in reproduction and protein synthesis. DNA contains hereditary information, that is the genetic information. The genetic information is transferred from parent to offspring during reproduction. The genetic materials brought about the continuity of life, thereby making plants and animals continue to exist. DNA also helps in protein synthesis by transferring the genetic information to the ribosomes through coding. The RNA uses the genetic information in the ribosome to produce protein. It should be noted that protein is a major component of animal and plant cells and tissue, so life cannot exist without protein.
Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
Ribonucleic acid is a chemical compound that is responsible for protein synthesis in both plants and animals. It is located in the ribosome of a cell. RNA is central for protein synthesis in animals and plants. Structurally, RNA molecules consist of one strand of nucleotides. The nucleotide strands are made up of chains of nucleotides. Each nucleotide comprises a pentose sugar called ribose sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The nitrogenous base in RNA is adenine, guanine, uracil, and cytosine. The nucleotide strands are linked together by the ester bond and glycosidic bond. There are three types of RNA; they are transfer RNA(tRNA), ribosomal RNA(rRNA), and messenger RNA(mRNA)
Functions of RNA in plant and animal:
The three types of RNA play a major role In protein synthesis. Synthesis of protein in a cell takes place in the ribosomes. The protein helps in the production of the new cell, thus leading to growth in living things. The protein produced can also produce a new cellular component to replace the already dead cellular component. RNA also helps to transfer DNA into protein
Both DNA and RNA is an essential component in plant and animals for their continuity and existence. The presence of the two nucleic acids in plants and animals indicates that they are present in all our food, thereby adding to the food’s nutritional component.