Branches Of Biochemistry: Examples And Applications

Biochemistry is a branch of chemistry that is dedicated to studying the chemical composition of living beings . It focuses mainly on the study of fundamental molecules for living organisms. For example: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids.

Biochemistry also studies the chemical reactions that involve the fundamental molecules in living organisms (metabolism), and within this framework, it studies the way in which organisms obtain energy (catabolism) and use it to form new molecules ( anabolism ). Among the processes studied by biochemistry are digestion, photosynthesis, chemical biological barriers , reproduction and growth.

It is an experimental science, and its knowledge constitutes one of the bases of medicine, pharmacology and biotechnology , among other disciplines. In addition, it is one of the pillars to confront the diseases of the modern world, food shortages and the search for new fuels .

Branches of biochemistry

  • Structural biochemistry . Studies the chemical structure of biological macromolecules , such as proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).
  • Bioorganic chemistry . Study organic compounds, which are compounds that have carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen covalent bonds , that is, they have their structure based on carbon. This discipline focuses on the study of organic compounds found only in living beings.
  • Enzymology . Studies the behavior of biological catalysts, such as enzymes and other proteins. Additionally, it studies coenzymes , which are the non-protein part of enzymes , but which are essential for catalysis to occur.
  • Metabolic biochemistry . It studies the metabolic processes at the cellular level that allow life. In addition, it studies the energy channels in living organisms, the metabolic pathways of nutrition and the biochemical variations that generate disease.
  • Xenobiochemistry . It studies the metabolic behavior of substances that are not usually found in the metabolism of an organism. If these substances generate a beneficial effect on the cellular functioning of the organism, then pharmacology is the discipline that deals with their study.
  • Immunology . Studies the reaction of organisms to pathogenic agents.
  • Endocrinology . Studies the behavior of hormones in organisms. Hormones are substances that can be secreted by the body or obtained from the outside, which affect the functioning of different cells and systems.
  • Neurochemistry . Studies the chemical behavior of the nervous system.
  • Chemotaxonomy . Study and classify organisms according to the differences they have in their chemical composition.
  • Chemical ecology . Studies the biochemical substances that are used by organisms to interact with each other.
  • Virology . Study viruses , their classification, functioning, molecular structure and evolution. It is associated with pharmacology.
  • Molecular Genetic . It studies genes, their expression, their transmission and molecular reproduction. It focuses mainly on DNA and RNA molecules.
  • Molecular biology . Studies the biological behavior of biomolecules , specifically from a molecular perspective.
  • Cell biology (cytology). Studies the chemistry, morphology and physiology of the two types of cells: prokaryotes and eukaryotes .

Examples of applications of biochemistry

  1. Fertilizers . Fertilizers are substances that promote the growth of plantations. To develop them it is necessary to know the chemical needs of plants.
  2. Enzymatic detergents . Enzymatic detergents are cleaners that can eliminate residues of necrotic material, without producing a corrosive action on inorganic surfaces.
  3. Medicines . The manufacture of medicines depends on knowledge of the chemical processes of both the human body and the bacteria or viruses that affect it.
  4. Cosmetics . Chemical products used in cosmetics must not alter the chemical composition of the skin or hair.
  5. Balanced food for pets . Foods are developed from knowledge of the metabolic and nutritional needs of animals, for which it is essential to know and understand the chemical composition of both animals and foods.
  6. Nutrition . Regardless of the objective of the diet (gain or lose weight, lower blood sugar, eliminate cholesterol, etc.) that a living organism needs, the amount of nutrients that make it up must be adjusted to the chemical needs of the organism to perform its functions.
  7. Manipulation of microorganisms . With biochemical techniques it is possible to manipulate microorganisms so that they degrade chemical contaminants.
  8. Protection of seas and oceans . It is important to know the chemical composition of sea and ocean waters to design techniques that allow their protection.
  9. Development of antibiotics . Antibiotics are drugs used to treat infections that are caused by bacteria.
  10. Dietary supplements . They are organic or inorganic substances that human beings consume with the aim of maintaining the correct functioning of their body, when they cannot achieve this by consuming food alone. These supplements must be developed using biochemical knowledge.

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