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The study of chemistry within the scope of biology: the compounds that occur and the reactions involving them in living organisms.

Some Basic Definitions:

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.(1)

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in living organisms. Biochemists focus heavily on the role, function, and structure of biomolecules. The study of the chemistry behind biological processes and the synthesis of biologically active molecules are examples of biochemistry.(2)

Brief introduction:


The history of biochemistry can be said to have started with the ancient Greeks who were interested in the composition and processes of life, although biochemistry as a specific scientific discipline has its beginning around the early 19th century. Some argued that the beginning of biochemistry may have been the discovery of the first enzyme, diastase (today called amylase), in 1833 by Anselme Payen, while others considered Eduard Buchner's first demonstration of a complex biochemical process alcoholic fermentation in cell-free extracts to be the birth of biochemistry. Some might also point to the influential work of Justus von Liebig from 1842, Animal chemistry, or, Organic chemistry in its applications to physiology and pathology, which presented a chemical theory of metabolism, or even earlier to the 18th century studies on fermentation and respiration by Antoine Lavoisier.

Main branches:

  • Animal Biochemistry (biochemistry of animals)

  • Plant Biochemistry (biochemistry of plants)

  • Molecular Biology (concerns the molecular basis of biological activity between biomolecules in the various systems of a cell)

  • Cell Biology (study of the different structures and functions of the cell)

  • Metabolism (conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes, conversion of food/fuel to building blocks for macromolecules, and the elimination of nitrogenous wastes)

  • Immunology (study of immune systems in all organisms)

  • Genetics (study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in living organisms)

  • Enzymology (study of enzymes i.e. macromolecular biological catalysts)


When to use the biochemistry tag?

As defined, this tag should be used for questions regarding chemistry within the scope of biology: the compounds involving/related to cellular metabolism, cellular biology, genetics, biomolecules, enzymes, immune system and the reactions involving them in living organisms.

Links for further information:

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