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Definition of Biochemistry Biochemistry is the study of the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances in living systems.

Biochemistry emerged as a separate discipline when scientists combined biology with organic, inorganic, or physical chemistry and began to study such topics as how living things obtain energy from food, the chemical basis of heredity, and what fundamental changes occur in disease. Biochemistry includes the sciences of molecular biology; immunochemistry; neurochemistry; and bioinorganic, bioorganic, and biophysical chemistry. Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes. By controlling information flow through biochemical signalling and the flow of chemical energy through metabolism, biochemical processes give rise to the incredible complexity of life.

Scope of Biochemistry A. Biochemistry is concerned with structural chemistry. It seeks to determine the structures of molecules found in living systems in order to understand structurefunction relationships. B. Biochemistry is concerned with chemical change, this is reflected in the stu dy of metabolic pathways C. Biochemistry is concerned with information which has accumulated through evolution and is preserved in DNA (or sometimes RNA). These nucleic acid sequences code for amino acid sequences, which result in folded proteins. These proteins are often catalysts (enzymes) and some of them are regulated (able to sense the chemical state inside the cell and, in some cases, the outside)

History of biochemistry A. (Proteins - enzymes) 1828 Wohler --> synthesized a biological compound (urea) from ammonium cyanate (an inorganic chemical)! NH4+ NCOB. 1897 the Buchner brothers (Eduard and Hans) demonstrated that alcoholic fermentation could occur in a cell-free extract. C. 1926 J.B. Sumner demonstrated that an enzyme (urease) was a protein and could be crystallized (indicative of fixed molecular structure and purity) set stage for Perutz and Kendrew's work on X-ray structure of myoglobin and hemoglobin Nucleic acid polymers (DNA and RNA) Another series of discoveries surrounding nucleic acids: Miescher; Mendel; Avery, McCarty, and McLeod; Watson and Crick; Hershey and Chase

Distinguishing Characteristics of Living Systems A. They are complex, that is they are highly organized (cell - nucleus - chromosome nucleosomes - DNA base pairs - bases). This organization has physical chemical implications. B. They are capable of self-replication (biochemistry comes from genetics) C. They can transform energy. Energy is required to create order ( S) Implications of Chemistry for Biology A. There is an underlying simplicity in the molecular organization of cells (similar proteins are found in E. coli and in humans). B. All living forms have a "common ancestor" (evolution). Biochemists seek a "logical" molecular path upward. C. Identity (phenotype) of organism is determined by its set of nucleic acids (genotype) and proteins (gene products) and the regulation of their expression (interaction with the environment). D. There is a molecular economy in living systems; some molecules appear to have an advantage over many others and are used repeatedly (ATP). G= H -T

Aplication of Biochemistry Biochemistry Has a Wide Range of Applications. Biochemistry is applied to medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. In food science, biochemists research ways to develop abundant and inexpensive sources of nutritious foods, determine the chemical composition of foods, develop methods to extract nutrients from waste products, or invent ways to prolong the shelf life food products. In agriculture, biochemists study the interaction of herbicides with plants. They examine the structure-activity relationships of compounds, determine their ability to inhibit growth, and evaluate the toxicological effects on surrounding life. Biochemistry spills over into pharmacology, physiology, microbiology, and clinical chemistry. In these areas, a biochemist may investigate the mechanism of a drug action; engage in viral research; conduct research pertaining to organ function; or use chemical concepts, procedures, and techniques to study the diagnosis and therapy of disease and the assessment of health. Work in the field of biochemistry is often related to toxicology. Rogene Henderson, senior scientist and supervisor of the Biochemical Toxicology Group at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, does research to understand ways in which organic compounds in the body are changed by enzymes into toxic metabolites. Henderson focuses on determining the health effects of inhaled pollutants. She develops chemical analytical techniques to detect pollutants and their metabolites in body tissues and fluids, uses mathematics to describe the relationships between the air and body concentrations of these chemicals or their metabolites, and determines how these concentrations change with time.

The chemistry of a course in medical biochemistry. There are several particural phases of biochemistry with which the medical student is concerned. Among these may be listed the following: 1. The chemistry of tissues and foods. Foods are largely derived from animal or plant tissues, and the study of one is essentially identical with or closely supplementary to that of the other. Since most of the organic subtances of both bellong to the broad classes of carbohydrates, fatty materials, protein, or related compounds, a rader thorough knowledge of the pure chemistry and physiological relations of these subtances is of prime importance. The chemistry of digestion and absorption. Much of our food is composed of large the instestine into the blood stream and could not be utilized if they were absorbed. In fact, they might be definitely toxic, as in the case of undigested proteins. The proteins of foods contains about the same fundamental structure (amino acid, etc) as do the proteins of tissues but arrengement is different. Concecquently, the farious food proteins are broken into constituen amino acid in the alimentary tract and are then absorbed into the blood stream and distributed to our body.


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