Living organisms should be able to transform matter and energy into different forms, show response to changes in their environment and show growth and reproduction. All living organisms undergo changes due to large organic compounds called macromolecules. Four main types of macromolecules control all activities. They are proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids.
What is Biochemistry?
Molecules belong to different chemical groups based on their affinity for water. Hydrophobic groups – they can not form hydrogen with water. Ex: Hydrocarbons. Hydrophilic groups – they are attracted to the charges within water. They can form hydrogen bonds with water. Amphipathic groups – have both polar and non polar groups. Ex: Hydrocarbon chain is non polar and carboxyl group is polar.
There are four major classes of biochemical compounds - Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. In carbohydrates, sugar units are connected together by ‘glycosidic bonds’. Lipids are insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. All proteins are composed of amino acids which are connected by a peptide bond. There are 20 amino acids. Nucleic acids are composed of nucleotides.
Major types of biochemical reactions
Oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, Phosphorolysis, Decarboxylation, deamination and transamination are the major biochemical reactions. Oxidation is the loss of electrons. Reduction is the gain of electrons. Hydrolysis is the chemical process in which a molecule is cleaved into two parts by the addition of a water molecule. Phosphorolysis is the splitting of a bond by the addition of phosphoric acid to a compound. Decarboxylation is the loss of carbon dioxide. Deamination is the removal of amino group. Transamination is the transfer of amino group from one molecule to another.
Abbreviations of amino acids, coenzymes, enzymes, nucleic acids have been listed.
How to study biochemistry
The various methods to study biochemistry are – summarize, forming a study group, question-answer sessions with batch mates, practice drawing the biochemical structures to recollect during exams.