quaternary (Q)

quaternary (Q) (kwah´ter-nar-e, kwah-ter´ne-re)

1. Denoting a chemical compound containing four elements; e.g., NaHSO4. Cf. quaternary structure. 2. Fourth in a series. 3. Relating to organic compounds in which some central atom is attached to four functional groups; applied to the usually trivalent nitrogen in its "onium" state, R4N+, "quaternary nitrogen." 4. Referring to a level of structure of macromolecules in which more than one biopolymer is present. Cf. quaternary structure. [L. quaternarius,, fr. quaterni, four each, fr. quattuor, four, + -arius, adj. suffix]


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