The Role of Chemistry in History

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April 23rd, 2008 · 1 Comment ·

Introduction |Keratin | Why Wool? | A Sheep Market | Wool War I |References



Keratins are fibrous proteins that compose a variety of organic materials found in living organisms. They form hard but non-mineralized structures found in birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Keratins are divided into two subsets, alpha and beta keratins.Alpha keratins are found in mammals only and are responsible for the make up of hair, nails, horns, hooves and claws. Beta keratins are present in birds, reptiles and amphibians forming claws, nails, scales, shells, feathers and beaks. Beta keratins are often harder than their alpha counterparts.

Being a type of protein, keratins are made up of long chains of amino acids. All proteins are created through the various combinations of the same twenty amino acids. The most prevalent amino acids found in keratins are glycine, alanine and cysteine, the chemical structures of which can be found below.




Tags: Keratin