Biochemistry

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Biochemistry literally means the study of the chemical process that happen in any living organism. In other words, Biochemistry is the branch of science concerned with the chemical and physicochemical processes and substances that occur within living organisms. Biochemists use the knowledge and techniques, of biochemical processes to understand and solve biological problems.

A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry can be divided in three fields; molecular genetics, protein science and metabolism. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has through these three disciplines become successful at explaining living processes. Almost all areas of the life sciences are being uncovered and developed by biochemical methodology and research.[1] Biochemistry focuses on understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells,[2] which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues, organs, and organism structure and function.[3]

Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms by which genetic information encoded in DNA is able to result in the processes of life.[4]

Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids, which provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.[5] The chemistry of the cell also depends on the reactions of smaller molecules and ions. These can be inorganic, for example water and metal ions, or organic, for example the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins.[6] The mechanisms by which cells harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicine, nutrition, and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases.[7] In nutrition, they study how to maintain health wellness and study the effects of nutritional deficiencies.[8] In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers, and try to discover ways to improve crop cultivation, crop storage and pest control.

Glossary of biochemistry - More detailed Glossary of Biochemistry terms

  1. Voet (2005), p. 3.
  2. Karp (2009), p. 2.
  3. Miller (2012). p. 62.
  4. Astbury (1961), p. 1124.
  5. Eldra (2007), p. 45.
  6. Marks (2012), Chapter 14.
  7. Finkel (2009), pp. 1–4.
  8. UNICEF (2010), pp. 61, 75.


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