Course unit partition: PIACENZA

Academic year 2015/16
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Biologia applicata (BIO/13)
Ambito aggregato per crediti di sede
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
course unit
in - - -


Learning objectives

The course of Biochemistry is part of the integrated course Fundamentals of Biomolecular Systems. The course aims to enable the student to know and understand the electronic structure of the atom and molecules, both inorganic and organic. Particular attention is paid to macromolecules of biological interest. The student will understand:
1) the structure of the molecules
2) how the molecules react and the fundamental role of water in defining the reactivity.
3) the functions of the molecules that make up the cell, seen as basic unit of living matter,
4) some fundamental aspects of cellular metabolism.

The student, at the end of the course, will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the name and the corresponding chemical formula of substances, to be able to discuss the properties of macromolecules of biological interest as well as their functional role in the cell. Must be able to recognize the functional groups of the molecules responsible for their reactivity.
He must acquire an overview of cellular metabolic processes and their connection with the production and consumption of energy. He must perceive the connections between chemistry and biology.
The student will be able to apply the knowledge gained in carrying out its training activities.


The constitution of matter, elements and compounds. The fundamental particles of the atom. Atomic number and mass number. Atomic weight and molecular weight. Isotopes. Ions: cations and anions.
The periodic table and the electronic configuration of the elements of biological interest.
Electronegativity and chemical bonding: ionic and covalent bonding. Polarity of the molecules. Valence and oxidation number.
Fundamentals of inorganic chemistry: formulas and names of the most common inorganic compounds.
The principle of conservation of mass and charge: Balance of simple chemical reactions (oxidation-reduction and salting). Mole concept, conversion from grams to moles and vice versa, stoichiometry elementary. The solutions: what is a solution, the main ways of expressing the concentration of solutions.

Course unit content

The first part of the course will serve: a) to assess the level of knowledge of the prerequisites concepts; b) to give a general overview of the topics that will be covered and the logical thread in which they will be presented.
In the second part we will discuss topics that relate to understanding the origin of the three-dimensional structure and reactivity of molecules. Special attention will be devoted to acid-base and redox reactions
The third part will deal with the structural and chemical properties of major macromolecules present in a cell and then discuss some of the main metabolic processes responsible for the production of energy needed to keep the cell alive.

Full programme

1. Water: chemical and physical properties, water as a solvent, water ionization. The pH. The buffer solution.
2. proteins
The 20 amino acids of the protein: classification.
Buffering capacity.
Properties of the peptide bond.
Fibrous and globular proteins.
The primary structure, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins.
Transporters of O2.
The enzymes.
3. carbohydrates
Monosaccharides, disaccharides, polysaccharides
Polysaccharides reserve and structure.
4. lipids
The fatty acids.
Structural lipids.
Steroidal compounds-cholesterol-bile acids.
5. metabolism
Overview: catabolic and anabolic pathways.
Energy exchanges in the metabolism - the role of ATP.
Regulation of metabolism.
Glycolysis and its regulation.
Krebs cycle, and cellular respiration.
β-oxidation of fatty acids. Ketone bodies.
Degradation of amino acids.


Chemistry and Biochemistry
M. Samaja - R. Paroni
Piccin Publisher

Introduction to Biochemistry of Lehninger
David L. Nelson, Michael M. Cox
Freeman Publisher

Teaching methods

The course will be conducted on the basis of lectures during which after having exposed some general concepts will go on to describe their first applications in chemical systems model and then as part of the life processes of a cell.
The classes will be divided into three parts. A brief introduction to resume the arguments put forward in the previous lesson (10 '), a space for questions about the arguments (10') and 30 'to present new arguments.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course consists of a written examination on the whole program of the course (Biology and Biochemistry) followed, if you get enough in both modules of the course, by an oral examination.
The oral examination consists of questions: a) regarding any errors in the written test, b) contents of the course are not mentioned in the written test. Overall, particular attention will be paid to ascertain whether the student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the content.

As required by law and by the academic regulations, it is not possible to carry out the examination in two parts and acquire loans of a part of the exam.

Board of Examiners: Pertinhez Thelma, Lugli Marco, Troglio Maria Giovanna Supplenti: Spisni Alberto, Parmigiani Stefano, Casali Emanuela

Other information

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