What is Biochemistry?
Biochemistry is the chemistry of life, a branch of science that is interested in the physical structure of organisms. This science studies the compounds that makeup and allow living things to survive: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.
On the other hand, biochemistry also studies the processes and chemical reactions that occur between compounds that occur in both cells and the body. This set of biochemical reactions is called metabolism when it comes to the transformation of compounds, catabolism when it comes to the degradation of compounds to gain energy and the synthesis of complex compounds of anabolism. . From simple substances.
Biochemistry exists as a scientific field by distinguishing organic chemistry (which is structurally head carbon) and inorganic chemistry. This science assumes that the molecules that makeup living beings are made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur, the molecules that make up the cells, organs, and organ systems that make up creatures.
It is an applied experimental science, which supports the scientific method, that is, for the validation of experiments through several instrumental techniques of its own and other branches of science, such as statistics and physics. His molecular understanding of life is, logically, the result of the development of cell theory and the modern development of physics, chemistry, and biology.
Although biochemistry is a relatively modern field of knowledge, it dates back to ancient times. A very old example and where biochemistry is reflected in the process of making bread when yeast combines (fermentation).
But this discipline properly began in 1828 when Friedrich Wöhler published an article on the synthesis of urea, which showed that organic compounds, unlike what was believed, could be produced artificially in a laboratory.
Since then, the study of Louis Pasteur, Albrecht Kossel, Wilhelm Kunhen, and Eduard Buchner in the 19th century led to a rapid understanding of the substances that make up the bodies of living beings.
The true revolution in biochemistry occurred in the second half of the 20th century, going hand in hand with modern molecular biology. It is the result of the development of experimental techniques such as chromatography, centrifugation, electrophoresis, electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and the fields of scientific and technological progress and chemistry and science. Body.
Thanks to all of this, it has become possible to understand cell metabolic cycle, immunology, enzymatic functioning, and DNA sequencing, which have allowed advances such as cloning, genetic intervention, and gene therapy of living creatures.
Importance of biochemistry
Knowledge of biochemistry is key to various applied fields of knowledge, such as biotechnology, medicine, pharmacology, agri-food, and public health, among others.
This means that biochemical knowledge is key to understanding the diverse and complex processes that occur in life, which is, in turn, essential to learning how to protect and improve its quality.
Branches of biochemistry
Biochemistry encompasses a wide variety of branches, which change as knowledge of chemistry and biology progresses and becomes more complex. Some of the most important are:
- Structural Biochemistry. He is interested in the molecular architecture of organic materials and organic macromolecules, such as proteins, sugars, or nucleic acids (such as DNA and RNA). One of its functions as a discipline is the engineering (artificial assembly) of proteins.
- Enzyme. It is dedicated to the study of the catalytic activity of enzymes, namely, their ability to somehow activate, inactivate, accelerate, decay, or modify chemical reactions occurring within organisms.
- Metabolic Biochemistry. It focuses on the various metabolic pathways that occur in living beings at the cellular level, as well as all the chemical reactions that make life possible as we know it. It also includes bioenergetics, nutritional biochemistry, and other more specialized fields of study.
- Immunology. Study the chemical relationships that exist between a living organism and its pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria capable of causing disease. Its main focus is the immune system, a complex network of linkage detection and response at the cellular and biochemical levels of the body.
What does a biochemist do?
A biochemist is a student of the chemistry of life. This means that its work is used in medical, medicinal, and toxins, as it specializes in the chemistry and reactions of the body that can favor or harm life.
In the industrial sector, biochemicals are important for food technology, hygiene, and safety. On the other hand, these professionals work on the fundamental basis of biotechnology, which is a branch of science dedicated to applying chemical and biological knowledge simultaneously in fields such as agriculture, livestock, pharmacology, etc. Thanks to this, crops can now be improved. , New drugs are designed, specific foods produced for each type of farmed animals, synthesized pesticides that are less harmful to humans, and many other applications to animals.
Biochemistry degree and Biochemistry jobs
Examples of jobs where a biochemistry degree might come in handy. Some of these professions require specialized education in a field besides biochemistry.
- Agricultural scientist.
- Biochemistry professor.
- Biochemical engineer.
- Biological or biomedical engineer.
- Chemical engineer.
- Cosmetics developer.
- Federal regulator of biochemical products.
- Fermentation scientist.
- Food researcher and developer.
- Laboratory technician.
- Laboratory scientist.
- Oil and gas scientist.
- Patent lawyer.
- Petroleum engineer.
- Pharmaceutical researcher.
- Process engineer.
- Science writer.
- Science teacher.
Biochemistry degree and Biochemistry jobs