Open main menu

The Biochemistry Portal

Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.

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. Biochemistry focuses on understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues, organs, and organism structure and function.

Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.

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. 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. 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. In nutrition, they study how to maintain health wellness and study the effects of nutritional deficiencies. In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers, and try to discover ways to improve crop cultivation, crop storage and pest control.

Selected article

Salicin, a glycoside related to aspirin

In chemistry, a glycoside /ˈɡlkəsd/ is a molecule in which a sugar is bound to another functional group via a glycosidic bond. Glycosides play numerous important roles in living organisms. Many plants store chemicals in the form of inactive glycosides. These can be activated by enzyme hydrolysis, which causes the sugar part to be broken off, making the chemical available for use. Many such plant glycosides are used as medications. Several species of Heliconius butterfly are capable of incorporating these plant compounds as a form of chemical defense against predators. In animals and humans, poisons are often bound to sugar molecules as part of their elimination from the body.

In formal terms, a glycoside is any molecule in which a sugar group is bonded through its anomeric carbon to another group via a glycosidic bond. Glycosides can be linked by an O- (an O-glycoside), N- (a glycosylamine), S-(a thioglycoside), or C- (a C-glycoside) glycosidic bond. According to the IUPAC, the name "C-glycoside" is a misnomer; the preferred term is "C-glycosyl compound". The given definition is the one used by IUPAC, which recommends the Haworth projection to correctly assign stereochemical configurations. Many authors require in addition that the sugar be bonded to a non-sugar for the molecule to qualify as a glycoside, thus excluding polysaccharides. The sugar group is then known as the glycone and the non-sugar group as the aglycone or genin part of the glycoside. The glycone can consist of a single sugar group (monosaccharide) or several sugar groups (oligosaccharide). Read more...

Did you know...

Nuvola apps package editors.png

Related Portals

Things you can do

Nuvola apps korganizer.svg

There is still a lot of work to do on Wikipedia's biochemistry articles.

Visit the Metabolic Pathways task force page to see what needs doing to the wide range of metabolism-related articles, images and templates. In particular the roadmap for article development may be of interest.

On the more general front, the Molecular and Cellular Biology Wikiproject may also have projects of interest.

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Portal information

Nuvola apps kcmsystem.png

This page has been maintained by the Metabolic Pathways task force which is part of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Wikiproject.

The Metabolic Pathways task force is related to the Cell Signaling Wikiproject.

Purge server cache