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Peptides are small molecules that are composed of two or more amino acids. Peptides are found in all living organisms and play a variety of roles in the body. Peptides can be classified according to their structure and function.
The term “peptide” is derived from the Greek word “peptos” which means “digested”. Peptides are produced through the process of digestion, where larger proteins are broken down into smaller peptides by enzymes.
Peptides can be either linear or cyclic. Linear peptides are straight chains of amino acids, while cyclic peptides form a ring structure. The type of peptide will determine its function. Peptides can act as hormones, neurotransmitters, antibiotics, or enzymes.
The length of a peptide is typically between 2-50 amino acids, but there are some exceptions. Peptides that are composed of fewer than 10 amino acids are called oligopeptides, while those composed of more than 50 amino acids are called polypeptides. Polypeptides can be further classified into proteins if they contain more than 100 amino acids.