Biochemistry is the study of what

biochemistry is the study of what

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is the branch of science that explores the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. It is a laboratory based science that brings together biology and chemistry. By using chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists can understand and solve biological problems. Aug 12,  · Biochemistry is the study of the chemistry of living things. This includes organic molecules and their chemical reactions. Most people consider biochemistry to be synonymous with molecular biology. What Types of Molecules Do Biochemists Study?

Biochemistry is the application of chemistry to the study of biological processes at the cellular and molecular level. It emerged as a distinct discipline around the beginning of the 20th century when scientists combined chemistry, physiology, and biology to investigate the chemistry of living systems. Biochemistry is both life science and a chemical science - it explores the chemistry of living organisms and the molecular basis for the changes occurring in living cells. It uses the methods of chemistry.

It has provided explanations for the causes of many diseases in humans, animals and plants. Biochemists are interested, for example, in mechanisms of brain function, cellular multiplication and differentiation, communication within and between cells and organs, and the chemical bases of inheritance and disease. The biochemist seeks to determine how specific molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, vitamins, and hormones function in such processes.

Particular emphasis is placed on the regulation of chemical reactions in living cells. Biochemistry has become the foundation for understanding all biological processes. It has provided explanations for the causes of many diseases in humans, animals, and plants. It can frequently suggest ways by which such diseases may be treated or cured. Because biochemistry seeks to unravel the complex chemical reactions that occur in a wide variety of life forms, it provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.

It underlies and includes such exciting new fields as molecular genetics and bioengineering. The knowledge and methods developed by biochemists are applied to in all fields of medicine, in agriculture and in many chemical and health-related industries. As the broadest of the basic sciences, biochemistry includes many how to convince your parents to get you a motorcycle such as neurochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, clinical biochemistry, physical biochemistry, molecular genetics, biochemical pharmacology, and immunochemistry.

Recent advances in these areas have created links among technology, chemical engineering, and biochemistry. Enter your keywords.

Section menu. The study of life in its chemical processes Biochemistry is both life science and a chemical science - it explores the chemistry of living organisms and the molecular basis for the changes occurring in living cells. It uses the methods of chemistry, "Biochemistry has become the foundation for understanding all biological processes. An essential science Biochemistry has become the foundation for understanding all biological processes.

A practical science Because biochemistry seeks to unravel the complex chemical reactions that occur in a wide variety of life forms, it provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. A varied science As the broadest of the basic sciences, biochemistry includes many subspecialties such as neurochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, clinical biochemistry, physical biochemistry, molecular genetics, biochemical pharmacology, and immunochemistry.

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The study of life in its chemical processes

Biochemistry, study of the chemical substances and processes that occur in plants, animals, and microorganisms and of the changes they undergo during development and life. Mar 07,  · What is Biochemistry? The term biochemistry, which is the chemistry of life or the study of the processes behind all living organisms, was first coined in by Carl Neuberg, the father of. Jan 29,  · Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and reactions that take place within living organisms. It can be considered a subdivision of both chemistry and biology, although the skills and techniques used within it place great emphasis on traditional chemistry.

Biochemistry , study of the chemical substances and processes that occur in plants , animals , and microorganisms and of the changes they undergo during development and life.

It deals with the chemistry of life, and as such it draws on the techniques of analytical , organic, and physical chemistry , as well as those of physiologists concerned with the molecular basis of vital processes. All chemical changes within the organism—either the degradation of substances, generally to gain necessary energy, or the buildup of complex molecules necessary for life processes—are collectively called metabolism.

These chemical changes depend on the action of organic catalysts known as enzymes , and enzymes, in turn, depend for their existence on the genetic apparatus of the cell.

It is not surprising, therefore, that biochemistry enters into the investigation of chemical changes in disease , drug action, and other aspects of medicine , as well as in nutrition , genetics , and agriculture.

The term biochemistry is synonymous with two somewhat older terms: physiological chemistry and biological chemistry. Those aspects of biochemistry that deal with the chemistry and function of very large molecules e. Biochemistry is a young science , having been known under that term only since about Its origins, however, can be traced much further back; its early history is part of the early history of both physiology and chemistry.

The particularly significant past events in biochemistry have been concerned with placing biological phenomena on firm chemical foundations. Before chemistry could contribute adequately to medicine and agriculture, however, it had to free itself from immediate practical demands in order to become a pure science.

This happened in the period from about to , starting with the work of Robert Boyle and culminating in that of Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier , the father of modern chemistry. Boyle questioned the basis of the chemical theory of his day and taught that the proper object of chemistry was to determine the composition of substances.

His contemporary John Mayow observed the fundamental analogy between the respiration of an animal and the burning, or oxidation, of organic matter in air. Then, when Lavoisier carried out his fundamental studies on chemical oxidation, grasping the true nature of the process, he also showed, quantitatively, the similarity between chemical oxidation and the respiratory process. Photosynthesis was another biological phenomenon that occupied the attention of the chemists of the late 18th century.

The demonstration, through the combined work of Joseph Priestley , Jan Ingenhousz , and Jean Senebier , that photosynthesis is essentially the reverse of respiration was a milestone in the development of biochemical thought. In spite of these early fundamental discoveries, rapid progress in biochemistry had to wait upon the development of structural organic chemistry , one of the great achievements of 19th-century science. A living organism contains many thousands of different chemical compounds.

The elucidation of the chemical transformations undergone by these compounds within the living cell is a central problem of biochemistry. Clearly, the determination of the molecular structure of the organic substances present in living cells had to precede the study of the cellular mechanisms, whereby these substances are synthesized and degraded. There are few sharp boundaries in science, and the boundaries between organic and physical chemistry, on the one hand, and biochemistry, on the other, have always shown much overlap.

Biochemistry has borrowed the methods and theories of organic and physical chemistry and applied them to physiological problems. Such an attitude was taken by the vitalists , who maintained that natural products formed by living organisms could never be synthesized by ordinary chemical means. They retreated to new lines of defense, arguing that urea was only an excretory substance—a product of breakdown and not of synthesis. The success of the organic chemists in synthesizing many natural products forced further retreats of the vitalists.

It is axiomatic in modern biochemistry that the chemical laws that apply to inanimate materials are equally valid within the living cell. At the same time that progress was being impeded by a misplaced kind of reverence for living phenomena, the practical needs of man operated to spur the progress of the new science.

As organic and physical chemistry erected an imposing body of theory in the 19th century, the needs of the physician, the pharmacist, and the agriculturalist provided an ever-present stimulus for the application of the new discoveries of chemistry to various urgent practical problems. Two outstanding figures of the 19th century, Justus von Liebig and Louis Pasteur , were particularly responsible for dramatizing the successful application of chemistry to the study of biology.

Liebig studied chemistry in Paris and carried back to Germany the inspiration gained by contact with the former students and colleagues of Lavoisier. He established at Giessen a great teaching and research laboratory, one of the first of its kind, which drew students from all over Europe.

Besides putting the study of organic chemistry on a firm basis, Liebig engaged in extensive literary activity, attracting the attention of all scientists to organic chemistry and popularizing it for the layman as well.

His classic works, published in the s, had a profound influence on contemporary thought. Liebig described the great chemical cycles in nature. He pointed out that animals would disappear from the face of the Earth if it were not for the photosynthesizing plants, since animals require for their nutrition the complex organic compounds that can be synthesized only by plants.

The animal excretions and the animal body after death are also converted by a process of decay to simple products that can be re-utilized only by plants. In contrast with animals, green plants require for their growth only carbon dioxide , water , mineral salts, and sunlight.

The minerals must be obtained from the soil , and the fertility of the soil depends on its ability to furnish the plants with these essential nutrients. But the soil is depleted of these materials by the removal of successive crops; hence the need for fertilizers. Liebig pointed out that chemical analysis of plants could serve as a guide to the substances that should be present in fertilizers.

Agricultural chemistry as an applied science was thus born. In his analysis of fermentation, putrefaction, and infectious disease , Liebig was less fortunate. He admitted the similarity of these phenomena but refused to admit that living organisms might function as the causative agents. It remained for Pasteur to clarify that matter. He also demonstrated the usefulness of chemical methods in studying these tiny organisms and was the founder of what came to be called bacteriology.

Buchner clearly showed that fermentation could occur in a press juice of yeast , devoid of living cells. Thus a life process of cells was reduced by analysis to a nonliving system of enzymes. The chemical nature of enzymes remained obscure until , when the first pure crystalline enzyme urease was isolated.

This enzyme and many others subsequently isolated proved to be proteins , which had already been recognized as high-molecular-weight chains of subunits called amino acids.

The mystery of how minute amounts of dietary substances known as the vitamins prevent diseases such as beriberi, scurvy, and pellagra became clear in , when riboflavin vitamin B 2 was found to be an integral part of an enzyme. Subsequent work has substantiated the concept that many vitamins are essential in the chemical reactions of the cell by virtue of their role in enzymes.

In the substance adenosine triphosphate ATP was isolated from muscle. Subsequent work demonstrated that the production of ATP was associated with respiratory oxidative processes in the cell. In F. Lipmann proposed that ATP is the common form of energy exchange in many cells, a concept now thoroughly documented. ATP has been shown also to be a primary energy source for muscular contraction.

The use of radioactive isotopes of chemical elements to trace the pathway of substances in the animal body was initiated in by two U. Schoenheimer and D. That technique provided one of the single most important tools for investigating the complex chemical changes that occur in life processes. At about the same time, other workers localized the sites of metabolic reactions by ingenious technical advances in the studies of organs, tissue slices, cell mixtures, individual cells, and, finally, individual cell constituents , such as nuclei, mitochondria , ribosomes , lysosomes , and membranes.

In a substance was isolated from the nuclei of pus cells and was called nucleic acid , which later proved to be deoxyribonucleic acid DNA , but it was not until that the significance of DNA as genetic material was revealed, when bacterial DNA was shown to change the genetic matter of other bacterial cells.

Within a decade of that discovery, the double helix structure of DNA was proposed by Watson and Crick , providing a firm basis for understanding how DNA is involved in cell division and in maintaining genetic characteristics. Advances have continued since that time, with such landmark events as the first chemical synthesis of a protein , the detailed mapping of the arrangement of atoms in some enzymes, and the elucidation of intricate mechanisms of metabolic regulation, including the molecular action of hormones.

Article Introduction Historical background Areas of study Chemical composition of living matter Nutrition Digestion Blood Metabolism and hormones Genes Evolution and origin of life Applied biochemistry Methods in biochemistry Centrifugation and electrophoresis Chromatography and isotopes Show more. Videos Images. Additional Info.

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See Article History. Alternative Title: physiological chemistry. In biochemistry, researchers study the chemical substances and processes that occur in living organisms and cells. In particular, various processes by which cells gain energy, such as epinephrine-stimulated cAMP synthesis, have been deduced through the study of biochemistry.

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