Biochemistry

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical reactions that take place in living things, and in particular in cells. The complexity of biological chemical processes is controlled through cell signaling and energy transfers during metabolism. For half a century, biochemistry has managed to account for a considerable number of biological processes, to the point that practically all fields of biology, from botany to medicine, are today engaged in research. biochemical, even biotechnological. The main objective of biochemistry today is to understand, by integrating the data obtained at the molecular level, how biomolecules and their interactions generate the structures and biological processes observed in cells, paving the way for the understanding of organisms in their whole. In this context, supramolecular chemistry is interested in molecular complexes such as organelles, which constitute a level of organization of living matter intermediate between molecules and cells.

Biochemistry is particularly interested in the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, which constitute cellular structures and perform numerous biological functions. Cell chemistry also depends on smaller molecules and ions. These can be inorganic, for example the hydronium ion H3O +, hydroxyl OH– or metal cations, or organic, like the amino acids which make up proteins. These chemical species are essentially made up of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen; lipids and nucleic acids additionally contain phosphorus, while proteins contain sulfur, and ions and some cofactors consist of or include trace elements such as iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, molybdenum, l ‘iodine, bromine and selenium.

The results of biochemistry find applications in many fields such as medicine, dietetics or even agriculture; in medicine, biochemists study the causes of diseases and the treatments that can cure them; nutritionists use the results of biochemistry to design healthy diets while understanding biochemical mechanisms helps to understand the effects of dietary deficiencies; applied to agronomy, biochemistry makes it possible to design fertilizers adapted to different types of crops and soils as well as to optimize crop yields, crop storage and the elimination of parasites.

Carl Neuberg is credited with introducing the term in 1903 from Greek roots, but this term had already been circulating in Europe since the end of the 19th century. Along with molecular biology and cell biology, biochemistry is one of the disciplines that study the functioning of living things. It itself covers several branches, such as bioenergetics, which studies the transfer of chemical energy within living beings, enzymology, which studies enzymes and the reactions they catalyze, or structural biology, which is interested in the relationships between the biochemical functions of molecules and their three-dimensional structure.

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