cod. 08244

Academic year 2010/11
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Scienze biologiche e psicologiche
Type of training activity
16 hours
of face-to-face activities
2 credits
course unit
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Learning objectives

The Course is meant to provide information on the structure of the atom, with particular emphasis on the electronic structure as a mean to predict its chemical properties. It will provide the knowledge necessary to write the structure of inorganic and organic molecules including the macromolecules of biological relevance. It will provide the basis to understand and predict how molecules react and to understand the functional role of bio-molecules as building blocks of the cell. It will provide the principles that describe/govern the energy exchange between molecules during chemical reactions. Finally, it will provide a general overview of the cellular metabolism focusing, in particular, on the connection among cell respiration, catabolic processes and energy production.

The student must acquire familiarity with the name and the corresponding structural formula of substances of common use as well as of biochemical/clinical interest. He has to acquire the ability to recognize the functional groups of the molecules and, on that basis, he is expected to be able to predict their chemical properties and reactivity. Finally, the student must become acquainted with a general vision of the ensemble of the cell metabolic processes and of their connection with energy consumption and production.


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Course unit content

ATOMS AND PERIODIC TABLE: The subatomic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons. Atomic number and atomic weight. Isotopes. Atomic orbitals and their energy levels. Electron configurations of the first 20 elements of the periodic table. Correlation among periodic properties of the elements in the periodic table and their electron configurations.

CHEMICAL BONDING AND CHEMICAL REACTIONS: Electronegativity. Ionic and covalent bonds. Valence and oxidation number. Formulas and nomenclature of inorganic compounds of common use and of biological interest. Molecules' polarity and intermolecular interactions: dipole-dipole, ion-dipole and hydrophobic interactions; the hydrogen-bond. The law of mass and the charge conservation principle. The stoichiometry of chemical reactions. Bond-energy. Energy changes in chemical reactions: enthalpy. Spontaneity of chemical reaction: entropy and free energy.

SOLUTIONS: Water as a solvent of life. Electrolytes and non electrolytes. Strong and weak electrolytes. Osmotic pressure and others solution colligate properties. Expressions of the concentration of a solution. Acids and bases. The pH concept. Buffers and their physiological role. Basic stoichiometric calculations: dilution of a solution, chemical reactions quantization.

FOUNDATIONS OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY: Carbon compounds. Most relevant functional groups. Structural formulas of organic molecules. Molecular isomerism. Homocyclic and heterocyclic compounds, the aromatic compounds. The molecular mechanism of the most common organic reactions.

MACROMOLECULES: amino-acids and the peptide bond. Concepts of the proteins 3D structures and proteins functions. Enzymes, coenzymes and cofactors. Monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides. Lipids and lipo-soluble vitamins. Phospholipids and biological membranes The structural formulas of the most relevant macromolecules.

CELL METABOLISM: An overview of cell metabolism. Carbohydrate metabolism. Basic concepts on triglycerides metabolism. The cellular respiration. An overview of the digestion of nutrients as the first step of catabolism.

Full programme

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Massimo Stefani e Niccolò Taddei
Modulo di Chimica e Biochimica: Chimica, Biochimica e Biologia Applicata

D. Sadava, H. Craig Heller, G. H. Orians, W.K. Purves, D.M. Hills
Biologia. La cellula

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

written text followed by an oral examination

Other information

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