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BCH2333 (15)
Chapter 1

Textbook notes Chapter 1.docx

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University of Ottawa
Vasek Mezl

Textbook notes Chapter 1  Three parts of Biochemistry: 1. Structural chemistry (components of living matter) 2. Metabolism (totality of chemical reactions in living matter) 3. Genetic Biochemistry (how biological info is stored)  leads to molecular genetics (study of heredity and gene expression) Biochemistry and the Biological Revolution - Watson and Crick proposed the structure of the DNA - Human genome has 2.9 x 10^9 base pairs. The Roots of Biochemistry - Biochemistry started in the 1800s - Wohler demonstrated that he can create urea without a kidney. - In-vitro: in a test tube - In-vivo: in living matter - Biochem is much like molecular biology - Electron microscopy – cell structure - X-ray diffraction – 3D structure of macromolecules - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance – 3D structure of macromolecules Biochemistry as a Discipline and an Interdisciplinary Science - It is a mix of many other disciplines – organic chem., physical chem., thermodynamics, etc. Biochemistry as a Chemical Science - Chemical Elements of Living Matter o Need C,H,O,N,P,S to be abundant for life o Early universe was mainly H and He, the burning of which produces heavier elements o Life requires large and complex molecular structures, which is why heavier elements are required – such as C, N, O o Humans are composed of HOCN o Inert gases don’t form stable compounds and are not equipped for a role in life processes o Human body is 70% water - Biological Molecules o DNA has a mass of 2 billion Da o Proteins are smaller, about 10000-1 million Da o Macromolecules (giant molecules, make up large portion of mass of a cell) – polymer o Polymers are made of joining monomers through condensation (removal of H2O)  Carbohydrate is a polymer (ex.cellulose) which is made of covalently linked monomers, glucose.  Cellulose is a polysaccharide because glucose is a saccharide  Homopolymer – made of the same monomeric unit  Heteropolymer – made from different kinds of monomer units.  Nucleic Acids are polymers of nucleotides linked by phosphodiester bonds  Proteins are polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. o Functions of polymers  Starch stores energy  DNA/RNA stores hereditary info  Proteins can act as hormones, receptors, antibodies, or enzymes.  Lipids have low solubility so they are mainly used for membranes. Biochemistry as a Biological Science - Distinguishing Characteristics of Living Matter o Homeostasis – condition in which the chemical composition of a biological system is held constant. It is a non-equilibrium steady state. o Example between equilibrium and homeostasis: at equilibrium the protein
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