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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.
Biochemistry focuses on processes happening at a molecular level. It focuses on what’s
happening inside our cells, studying components like proteins, lipids and organelles. It
also looks at how cells communicate with each other, for example during growth or
fighting illness. Biochemists need to understand how the structure of a molecule relates
to its function, allowing them to predict how molecules will interact.
Biochemistry covers a range of scientific disciplines, including genetics, microbiology,
forensics, plant science and medicine. Because of its breadth, biochemistry is very
important and advances in this field of science over the past 100 years have been
staggering. It’s a very exciting time to be part of this fascinating area of study.Over the
last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry become so successful at explaining living
processes that now almost all areas of the life sciences from botany to medicine to
genetics are engaged in biochemical research. Today, the main focus of pure biochemistry
is in understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within
living cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of whole
Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular
mechanisms by which genetic information encoded in DNA is able to result in the
processes of life. Depending on the exact definition of the terms used, molecular biology
can be thought of as a branch of biochemistry, or biochemistry as a tool with which to
investigate and study molecular biology.
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 disease. In nutrition, they study
how to maintain health 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. Much of biochemistry deals with the structures
and functions of cellular components such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic
acids and other biomolecules—although increasingly processes rather than individual
molecules are the main focus.
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Home » Chemistry » Biochemistry » 7 Sub Branches of Biochemistry – The Study – Defination – Fields – Classifications
7 Sub Branches of Biochemistry – The Study –
Defination – Fields – Classifications
Post authorBy rafi
Post dateMarch 20, 2017
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Thus, Biochemistry is the Branches of Chemistry. Biochemistry has emerged as dynamic science
within the past hundred years. On 1500 up to 1800s, there were rapid advances in the understanding
of basic chemical principles, such as reaction kinetics and the atomic composition of molecules.
Many chemical produced in living organism had been identifier by the 19th of century. Since then
the growth of biochemistry and its influences on other disciplines continued well on 20th century.
Biochemistry is a study of the molecules and chemical reaction that happen in life or living things.
From the term, we could assume that this study is about combining two major sciences that are
biology and chemistry. However, the real definition of biochemistry is about using language of
chemistry to explain another science that is biology at the molecular level.
The study of biochemistry has shown that the same compounds and the same central metabolic
processes are found in organism as distantly related as bacteria and humans. Although, scientist
usually concentrates their research focus on particular organisms, the results of these studies often
apply to other species.
One of the goals of biochemist is to integrate a large body of knowledge into a molecular
explanation of life. Biochemistry as a discipline dies not exist in a vacuum and related to many
others discipline such as physiology, genetics and cell biology. As a result, the sub branches of
biochemistry are animal and plant biochemistry, immunology, genetic, immunology, and
You may also search:
Branches of Physical Chemistry
Branches of Analytical Chemistry
Branches of Inorganic Chemistry
Branches of Organic Chemistry
1. Animal Biochemistry
The diversity among animals in this life is one of the most important aspects of the world. Since
ancient time, scientist has been concerned with the ordering and classifying those diversities. At first,
only the structures and processes are recognizable but with the technology development, which
discovered the electron microscope along with the development of biology enable scientist to study
the diversity at deeper level that is molecular.
In other word, biochemistry means the study of molecule and chemical reaction happen in life, then
animal biochemistry study a the specific meaning of life it self and interpret it as animal. The study
of animal biochemistry is to analyze animal
This study is very significant to veterinary science and animal husbandry. Animal biochemistry is the
first sub branches of biochemistry. This study particullary help to understand animal health and
decease by understanding it metabolism and its function.
2. Plant Biochemistry
Plant biochemistry examines the molecular mechanism of plant life. One of major topic in plant
biochemistry is photosynthesis which mostly happen in the leaves. Photosynthesis is the process of
transferring the sun energy to synthesize carbohydrates and amino acids from water, carbon dioxide,
nitrate and sulfate. Via the vascular system, a major part of these products is transported from the
leaves through the stem into other regions of the plant, where they are required, for example, to
build up the roots and supply them with energy.
Contrary with animal, plant have a very large surface. Often with thin leaves in order to keep
diffusion pathway of CO2 in a short time so it can catch light as much as possible. The
disadvantages of having a large surface, this make plant vulnerable because it expose it self when
extreme condition occurred such as drought, heat, cold or even frost as well as an excess of radiated
In early of 1771, Joseph Priestly a Britssh man, discovered that plant evolve oxygen in the presence
if sunlight and concluded that oxygen is a product of photosynthesis and it purifies air in meaning of
producing oxygen. More later then in 1937, Robert Hill demonstrated that water is the source of
evolution of molecular oxygen during the light phase of photosynthesis. His discovery is known as
Hill reaction.
Photosynthesis start when plants and cyanobacteria capture the sun light or ultraviolet and utilize its
energy to synthesize organic compounds from inorganic compounds such as CO2, nitrate, and
sulfate to synthesize their cellular material. This ability called photoautotrophic. In photosynthesis,
oxygen and hydrogen are splitted from water by photon energy, the latter bound named NADPH.
In this process, termed the light reaction, takes place in the photosynthetic reaction centers
embedded in membranes.
It involves the transport of electrons, which is coupled to the synthesis of ATP. Meanwhile,
NADPH and ATP are consumed in a so-called dark reaction to synthesize carbohydrates from
CO2. The photosynthesis of plants and cyanobacteria created the biomass on earth, including the
deposits of fossil fuels and atmospheric oxygen.
Animals and humans are dependent on the supply of carbohydrates and other organic compounds
as food which makes them heterotrophic or mean they can not create energy by itself.
They generate the energy required for their life processes by oxidizing the biomass, which has first
been produced by plants. When oxygen is consumed, CO2 is formed. Thus light energy captured by
plants is the source of energy for the life processes of animals.
You may also read: Nitrogen for Plants
3. Molecular and Cell Biology
Every organism on earth is consist of cell either one single cell or more. The cell can be considered
as a droplet of water containing dissolved and suspended material, enclosed by a surrounding
structure or so-called the plasma membrane.
A living cell is the biological unit of activity. It represent the smallest portion of an organism that
exhibits a range of properties associated with the living matter. Therefore, the understanding of cell
in biochemistry is very fundamental and a must thing to do. Cell exist in variety of sizes and shapes,
however all cell can be classified into two categories, the eukaryotic cell and prokaryotic cell.
Prokaryotic Cells
Prokaryotic cells consist less complex internal structure, and smaller than eukaryotic cells.
Prokaryotes are usually a single-cell organism such as bacteria. In early study of E.coli, scientists have
found many biochemical reaction in this organism, and represent this organism as a model of
biological system.
In bacteria like E. Coli, the RNA protein complexes involved in protein synthesis or as known
ribosomes are suspended in cytosol. in most of prokaryotic-celled organism are found that its
plasma membrane is surrounded by a cell wall made of a rigid network of covalently linked
carbohydrate and peptide chains.
In addition of having cell wall some bacteria possess an outer membrane consisting lipids, protein,
and lipid linked to plysaccharides. Having a small size is advantages for prokaryotic cell , it higher
ratio of surface area to volume which effect a simple diffusion. Simple diffusion is an process of
distributing an adequate means of nutrients through out the cell.
Eukaryotic Cell
Eukaryotic cell posses a complex internal structure, it is so complex that it has a prominent nucleus
inside. Eukaryotic cell can be found in plant, animal, fungi, and many unicellular organism. Most of
eukaryotic cell is larger than prokaryotic cell it is commonly 1000-fold greater than prokaryotic in
volume. Because of its size and complexicity thus a rapid transport and communication mechanism
is needed both from inside of cell to and from external of cell medium.
Eukaryotic cell contain a membrane called organelles and cytoskeleton these membrane have their
own function. Cytoskeleton has function in cell shape and the management of intracelullar traffic
while organelles function often tied to cell physical properties.
Eukaryotic cell has certain part of it self. Some of them are :
The most defined part of cell is nucleus as known the criterion for characterization of an organism
in this case eukaryote. The nucleus is structurecally defined by the nuclear envelope. Nuclear
envelope is a membrane with two layers that join at protein-lined nuclear pores. The nucleus is the
control center of cell, containing 95% of its DNA, even the transcription of DNA into RNA located
in nucleus. RNA synthesis happened in nucleolus, not only the RNA synthesis nucleolus also the site
of assembly of ribosomes from their subunit.
The Endoplasmic Reticulum and Golgi Apparatus
On the outer part of membrane of the nucleus there is endoplasmic reticulum. Endoplasmic
reticulum is enclosed by aqueous region called lumen. The cell endoplasmic reticulum is coated with
ribosomes. Ribosome has significant role as some protein emerge from it and bind to the
endoplasmic reticulum thereby attaching the ribosome to membrane. As the process continues the
protein is moving through the membrane to the lumen.
And as the end of process of protein synthesis it destined to remain in cytosol which occurs in
ribosomes that are not bound to endoplasmic reticulum. Golgi apparatus is often found close to the
endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus is a complex a flattened, fluid-filled, membranous sacs.
Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
Both of this part have significant role in the energy transducer of cell. Mitochondria are the main
sites of oxidative energy metabolism and are found nearly in all eukaryotic cells. Chloroplasts are the
sites of photosynthesis in plants and algae. Mitochondria is enclosed by a double membrane which
each called inner membrane and matrix. Matrix contain many enzymes involved in aerobic energy
The chloroplast is surrounded also by a double membrane enclosing a highly folded internal
membrane that forms a system of flattener sacs or as known thylakoid membrane. The thylakoid
membrane contains chlorophyll and other pigments that involved in the capture of the sun light
As we have discussed about cell, now we know that a living organism are complicated and highly
organized, like an organism who consists of many cells. In turn, these cells posses sub cellular
structure called organelles which are complex assemblies of very large polymeric molecules called
macro molecules. Even, these macromolecules themselves shows a very complex organization in
their three-dimensional architecture for example sugar and amino acids. This complex threedimensional structure of macromolecule known as conformation. This conformation happened as a
consequence of interaction between monometric units according to their individual chemical
When we talk about molecular in biochemistry, it related with bio-molecule which is the elemental
composition of living things. More than 99% of human body atom consist of Hydrogen, oxygen,
carbon and nitrogen constitute with most of H and O occurring as H2O. All biomolecule contain
carbon. Carbon has ability form as many as four such bond by sharing each other electron in its
outer shell with electron contributed by other atoms.
The molecular constituent of living matter do not reflect randomly the infinite possibilities for
combining C, H, O and atoms. Instead, only a limited set of many possibilities are found, and these
collections share certain properties essential to the establishment and maintenance of the living state.
4. Metabolism
The word metabolism derives from the Greek for “change.” Thus, metabolism means the sum or
amount of the chemical change that convert nutrient, the raw material to nourish living organism,
into energy and the chemically compiles finished product of cell.
The principles of modern biology noted that metabolism is similar to organisms. All form s of
nutrition and almost all metabolic pathways evolved in early prokaryotes prior to the appearance of
eukaryotes 1 billion years ago. For example glycolosis, the metabolic pathway by which energy is
released from glucose and captured in the form of ATP under anaerobic conditions.
The Fields
Although, most cells have the same basic set of central metabolic pathway, different cells are
characterized by the alternative pathways they might express. Classification based on carbon
requirement defined two major groups that are autotrophs which are organism that can use carbon
dioxide as their only source of carbon and heterotrophs who require an organic form of carbon such
as glucose in order to synthesize other essential carbon compound that is human organism.
A further classification among organism is whether they can use oxygen as an electron acceptor in
energy pathways. Organism who able to do this called aerobic organism, so the one who can not do
this called anaerobes. Organism which O2 is oligatory for their lives are called obligate aerobes,
humans are obligate aerobics. For some organism who can adapt to anaerobic condition called
facultative anaerobes such as E.coli.
There are two fundamental purposes of metabolism that are the generation drive vital function and
the synthesis of biological molecules. In case of achieving these objectives metabolism primarily
consist of two processes. Catabolism is a metabolism process that have characteristic of energy
yielding, whereas anabolic pathways are energy requiring. Catabolism involves the oxidative
degradation of complex nutrient molecules obtained. The breakdown of catabolism result a simples
molecules such as lactic acid, ethanol, carbon dioxide, urea, and ammonia.
Anabolism is a synthetic process in which the varied and compiles bio-molecule such as protein,
nucleic acid, lipid and polysaccharide are assembled from simpler precursor. This biosynthesis
process involves the formation of new covalent bond, and an input of chemical energy needed to
drive such endergonic process.
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List of Chemicals
Helium Uses
Hydrogen Uses
5. Immunology
In 1908, a biologist from Russia Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov boosted the study of immunology by his
work and priced by Nobel Prize in that year. Immunology is study about immune system of
organism not limited only to human but organism in wider term.
Immunology have several branches as it focus of study they are clinical immunology which focus on
study of diseases caused by disorder of immune system, there are:
Developmental Immunology
Developmental immunology which focus on one’s capability to react to given antigen based on
person characteristic such as age, antigen type, and maternal factors.
Immunotherapy as we guess this branch focus on using immune system to cure disease or disorder;
diagnostic immunology is study using antigen and antibody to diagnose an existence of a substance
in organism.
Cancer Immunology
Cancer immunology study the relationship between immune system and cancer; reproductive
immunology study relationship of reproductivity with immune system.
6. Genetics
From the Watson and Crick model, it become clear that the DNA possesses a self-duplicating
property and when cell divides. The daughter cell inherit the entire genetic information through a
well-defined mechanism. However, variations among organisms are also found due to
recombination that occur between DNA or chromosomes of two parent.
Genetic Fields
According to Mendelian Laws of heredity, various traits are controlled by several factors. These
factors came to be known as Genes. Since 1950 there has been a phenomenal growth in molecullar
biology, with the result the nature of gene can be stated in far more definite term.
Genes are made up of DNA. This is a linear and unbranched polymer of nucleotides. A gen in
actual sense is a segment of DNA and may consist of thousand of base pairs. Genes function in
specific manner is to produce enzymes which catalyze specific reaction this theory is known as ‘one
gene-one enzym’, but some enzymes are composed more than one chain so, this theory changes into
‘one gene one polupeptide’ chain.
7. Enzymes
The study of enzymes began with the discovery of the use of microorganism in processing wine.
Louise Pasteur was the first to demonstrate that yeast can ferment glucose without being used up to
destroy later then this process called fermentation. Since that time until the latest discovery then the
cell contain such chemical entities that could catalyze various chemical reaction in the cell called
The true nature of enzyme established by James Sumner in 1926 by his discovery when he extracted
and cryztalized an enzyme called urease from jack beans. From this experiment he determined that
all enzymes without exception are protein with a three-dimensional structure.
Classes of Enzymes:
Oxidoreductases : This class concerned with the oxidation-reduction reaction in which one
compound is oxidized and another is reduced.
Transfereas : This class catalyze the transfer of chemical groups such as alkyl,methyl,
carboxyl, aminoacyl and many more.
Hydrolases : This class included hydrolatic enzymes that split C-O,C-N,C-C an other bond
by addition of water.
Lyases : This class of enzym catalyze the removal of specific groups from their substactes
and introduce double bonds.
Isomerases : This class is a group of enzymes that catalyze redistribution of chemical
groups within a molecule and produce isomers, epimers, etc.
Ligases : These are also called synthases and catalyze he joining together of two molecules
coupled with the break down of phospates bond in ATP or any nucleoside triphospates.
Meanwhile, the sub branches of biochemistry is important to learn in many fields to create new
compounds. There are seven sub branches of biochemistry which are animal and plant biochemistry,
immunology, genetic, immunology, and enzyemology that’s all play the key role in many
You may also search: Job Opportunities after Bsc Chemistry
Tagsbiochemistry, Chemistry
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