Biochemistry Topics. What is Biochemistry?

Abdus Sami, Brekke Peterson Munks
  • Author
    Abdus Sami

    A Biotechnology graduate and a volunteer at organizations for social welfare and environment, aims to make things easier for people. Believing in improving lives acts as the driving force. A voluntary teacher at an adopted school and a knack at presenting helps make the best out of opportunities.

  • Instructor
    Brekke Peterson Munks
Understand the biochemistry definition, biochemistry meaning, and what is the study of biochemistry. Explore biochemistry topics and the biochemistry impact factor. Updated: 01/09/2022

Table of Contents


What is Biochemistry?

The biochemistry definition is that it is the science that studies all aspects of the chemistry related to life. The biochemistry meaning has expanded over time as the discipline has grown. So then, what does biochemistry study?

Biochemistry studies the nature of chemical interactions in organisms, the dynamics of chemical reactions, like energy changes and stoichiometry, and the changes in chemicals caused by metabolism. For example, a blood or urine test report shows the nature and concentration of various chemical compounds present in every individual sample. These details help diagnose and treat different disorders.

This example is just one of many common applications of biochemistry. It also covers metabolic pathways and metabolism, structural chemistry, immune responses, medications, pathogenicity, and much more. Each part of biology that involves analysis and study related to the chemistry of life is biochemistry.

A detailed chemical view of DNA.

The structure of DNA is one of the biochemistry topics

Carl Neuberg, a German scientist, used the term 'biochemistry' for the first time in 1903. Biochemistry existed for over 500 years before they coined the term.

With advancements in the discipline and extensive research, scientists have divided biochemistry into two large sub-disciplines: Descriptive biochemistry and dynamic biochemistry.

Descriptive biochemistry is the qualitative and quantitative study of chemistry in living beings. Dynamic biochemistry involves the study of chemical reactions that make life along with their mechanisms and kinetics.

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Branches of Biochemistry

Extensive study and research show that all life has biochemistry. Different branches of study that involve biochemistry topics have evolved into niches and have become larger domains of intensive research. The following are a few fields that are offshoots of biochemistry and their descriptions.

  1. Enzymology - The study of biological catalysts or enzymes is enzymology. Understanding functions, mechanisms, and classifications are primary subjects of interest under enzymology. Enzymes were first discovered in yeast by a French scientist named Anselme Payen in 1833.
  2. Endocrinology - It is the study of hormones. Hormones are protein or steroid molecules that act as messengers. They use transport receptors and other machinery and make chemical changes at the target sites. A German physiologist named Arnold Berthold conducted a study on castrated roosters to prove that testicle transplants could make them fertile again. This experiment did not receive recognition, but it was the first that suggested the existence of hormones. And that is why Berthold may be the father of endocrinology.
  3. Genetics - Genetics is the study of genes transferred across generations from parents. Genes are carriers of characters that pass on from the parents to their offspring. These characters make up the hereditary concept.
  4. Xenobiotics - In Greek, 'Xenos' means foreign, and 'bios' means life. Hence, Xenobiotics is the study of something foreign to the body. Foreign substances include pollen, drugs, and allergens.
  5. Virology - Virology studies viruses and virus-like bodies. It involves learning and studying their structures, types, pathological effects, and other related aspects.
  6. Immunology - Study of the immune system is immunology. It deals with immune responses, lines of defense, types of immunity, etc. Edward Jenner was the first scientist to develop a vaccine. Ever since this discovery, medical treatment has improved and become more effective.
  7. Metabolic biochemistry - Metabolism and metabolic pathways are a part of metabolic biochemistry. Many molecules, discovered and undiscovered, involved in metabolic processes and their chemical constituents come under this vast discipline.
  8. Molecular biology - The science dealing with different molecules and elements making up life is molecular biology. All that makes up the skin, hair, nails, membranes, and everything else comes under this discipline.
  9. Cell biology - A cell, the basic unit of life, has many aspects that fascinate scientists and biologists. Cell biology is a discipline related to only cells, cell functions, and cell contents.
  10. Neurochemistry - The nervous system is like a communication pipeline through which different signals and messages originate from the central nervous system and reach the target area. Transmission of neural signals occurs using chemicals found in the body that transfer electrical signals across membranes of dendrites. That is what neurochemistry studies. Neural networks, chemicals involved, and the anatomy of transmission are some parts of neurochemistry.

Biochemistry Topics

Biochemistry has many domains that are some of the most extensively studied subjects. None of the biochemistry topics are individual and unique. Biochemistry is entirely linked throughout, with each study contributing to the other.

Out of the plethora of subdomains, a few larger ones are:

  • Medicine - Medical diagnosis, metabolism, and treatment are the main topics under medicinal biochemistry. Some of the most common examples include different diagnostic tests, like blood tests, urine tests, and diabetes tests, that are used to detect the presence of foreign or natural chemical substances in the body. Medicine uses the different changes in these chemicals for further prescriptions, treatments, and procedures.

Blood tests and vaccines are common applications of biochemistry.

The widespread use of fluid tests and vaccinations are examples of the biochemistry impact factor

  • Nutrition - Dietary sources, nutrient compositions, and calorific requirements are the different aspects that are of interest in this discipline. Nutrition deals with the effects of the various nutrients found in both natural and synthetic sources on the human body.

The nutritional properties of food is studied in biochemistry.

Nutritional content of foods is one of the biochemistry topics.

  • Molecular biology - This science studies the composition of life itself, including different elements and molecules that make up the bodies of organisms.

A molecular biologist.

An important field that produces biochemistry articles is molecular biology

  • Plant and animal biology - The subdomain of biochemistry that studies the chemical constituents of plants and animals. It is one of the most extensively studied subjects in biochemistry. Plant and animal biology research has helped improve the quality of life for both organisms.

Plants that are growing into saplings.

The study of plants is included in the biochemistry definition.

Importance of Biochemistry

Biochemistry is a phenomenal contributor to better healthcare and the understanding of different life forms. The numerous sciences under biochemistry are helping people, plants, animals, and all life forms have better health and development.

Studying different life forms can lead to gaining valuable knowledge about health, environment, nutrition, and longevity. Hence, biochemistry is the best tool to understand all life better.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What topics are taught in biochemistry?

Modern biochemistry can be classified into two major subdisciplines: descriptive biochemistry and dynamic biochemistry.

Descriptive biochemistry deals with the structure and nature of chemicals in areas like cell biology and molecular biology.

Dynamic biochemistry is about the chemical reactions, natural or induced, that take place in the organisms.

What is biochemistry in simple words?

Biochemistry literally means life chemistry. The discipline studies the chemistry related to life. All chemical species found in living organisms, ranging from unicellular microscopic organisms to the most complex organisms, are studied under this domain.

What are examples of biochemistry?

Some of the more common examples you come across in routine life include vaccines, diet plans, microscopic analyses of samples from any life form, and drugs. More complex studies, like genetics, nanotechnology, and xenobiotics, also come under biochemistry.

What are the different branches of biochemistry?

Biochemistry, a constantly evolving and expanding science, has numerous subdisciplines under its umbrella. There are numerous major branches of biochemistry: Structural biochemistry, enzymology, metabolic biochemistry, xenobiotics, immunology, endocrinology, neurochemistry, virology, genetics, chemical ecology, and more.

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