This typhoon-resistant facility in Guam will power the tubes that give us the internet – Subsea internet cables make the world’s data go around, for regular people (and the Department of Defense). By Rob Verger 2 de julho de 2019 @ ´´Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms.[1] Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life. A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry can be divided in three fields; structural biology, enzymology and metabolism.´´

This typhoon-resistant facility in Guam will power the tubes that give us the internet

Subsea internet cables make the world’s data go around, for regular people (and the Department of Defense).By Rob Verger2 de julho de 2019

A beach in Guam.Photo by Luemen Carlson on Unsplash

It’s easy to forget that the internet isn’t magic, and that it relies on very physical—almost banal—infrastructure to work. Hundreds of thousands of miles of undersea internet cables snake under the world’s oceans, crossing the Atlantic, Pacific, and along the coast of South America. These insulated, garden hose-like lines carry the bulk of the world’s international data traffic. Send an email overseas, and the information is likely traveling through a fiber-optic cable.

These hundreds of cables have to come on land eventually—that’s not only how they connect networks, but it’s how they receive the electricity they need to keep the data flowing. There are landing points all over the world, in places like Spain, India, and, yes, Guam.

Guam—the Pacific island about 1,600 miles from Japan— is a key landing spot for cables crossing the biggest ocean in the world. And now the island is getting four new cables, and a new, storm-resistant facility to manage them.

The steel-reinforced concrete building designed to withstand the forces of typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis will come online in Piti, Guam, next year. The architectural protector of our cables will hold up against 170-mph wind gusts that last three seconds, or sustained breezes of 155 mph. It will also be a landing point for new submarine data cables that will connect between Guam and Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and the U.S.ADVERTISEMENT / ADVERTISE WITH US

If all goes according to engineers’ plans, the facility’s metal doors could survive a four-foot-long two-by-four board winging at them at 170 miles per hour, and the electronics and generators will be elevated high enough off the ground that they shouldn’t flood even in a big storm. That’s crucial, because the structure will power the repeaters, or “optical pumps” that the cables need to boost the laser signal as it travels through the fiber, losing energy over distance.02:3008:40


Powered by Minute Media 

So why Guam? Multiple subsea cables—like the one that stretches from California to Hawaii to the Federated State of Micronesia to Indonesia—already land in Piti, on the west coast of the island. Much of the traffic that arrives on Guam through these cables then transits to other cables, meaning that Guam functions as a hub, like a highway exchange in the Pacific. And of course people who live on Guam can use the web thanks to cables like these.

A rendering of the new internet cable landing facility.GTA

Then there’s the U.S. Department of Defense, which operates several military bases on the territory. “Guam has a fairly large DOD presence, as well as some other three-letter agencies,” says David Chase, the chief technical officer of a company called GTA, which is building the new cable landing site along with another firm. For the United States government, these cables aren’t just used for sending emails back home or checking Facebook—it’s likely for internal communications between DOD sites. “It’s more of a private line type-connection,” Chase says.ADVERTISEMENT / ADVERTISE WITH US

The cables that will come into this building will further connect Guam with places like Hong Kong and Los Angeles (a new one between the U.S. and Guam is called SxS and will span more than 6,000 miles).

Laying additional cables through Guam will add more redundancy and capacity across the Pacific. Plus, Chase adds, “Guam is really the Western-most U.S. possession facing Asia—and that has a number of [geopolitical] benefits.”

Guam isn’t the only place where things are happening with new subsea cables. Google just announced that it’ll be building a new internet cable that’s thousands of miles long and runs from Portugal to South Africa, with a branch that runs into Nigeria, too. The search giant says the same cable could serve other countries on the continent of Africa, too. It will use similar technology as another line that Google is working on between the U.S. and TaboolaSponsored LinksYou May LikeLembra dele? Respire fundo antes de ver como ele está agoraMediCareGranny BrazilComo Demi Moore está hoje em dia não faz sentidoFinancial Advisor HeroesWearing These Things On Airplane Turned Out A Big MistakeTop Journey MagNovo aparelho que reduz conta de luz pela metade vira febre no BrasilEconomizar EnergiaInvestidor saca dinheiro de grandes bancos e revela motivosEu Quero InvestirVai fazer exame de toque? Veja o que este médico tem a dizer sobre issoJoliviPasse longe: 12 carros que você deve evitar em 2019Tantas EmoçõesNovo SUV Citroën C4 Cactus Feel BusinessCitroën BrasilADVERTISEMENT / ADVERTISE WITH US

More Technology


LatestSCIENCEIceland grieving a dead glacier could help us better face the climate crisisGADGETSEssential travel kits for active petsGADGETSAir mattresses that don’t hate your backENVIRONMENTThe environmental impact of watching a movie might surprise youGADGETSThree power adapters for every world traveler’s suitcaseHEALTHThis new Salmonella ‘superbug’ is probably no scarier than the fluTECHNOLOGYLast week in tech: The supreme smartphone, Apple’s credit card, and Android 10ANIMALS10 most powerful animal bites on the planetGADGETSInexpensive chef knives that will change the way you cook


Related Searcheswhat are drones used forinternet technology and services blogwhat are bomb disposal robotshow can robots be waterproofways facial recognition is being used today

Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Popular Science may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.

Copyright © 2019 Popular Science. A Bonnier Corporation Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search“Biological Chemistry” redirects here. For the journals, see Biochemistry (journal) and Biological Chemistry (journal).

Part of a series on
Key components
History of Biochemistry
BiochemistryCell biologyBioinformaticsEnzymologyGeneticsImmunologyMolecular biologyPlant biochemistryStructural biology
Branches of biochemistry
List of biochemists
Glossary of biologyGlossary of chemistry
Portals: Biochemistry

Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms.[1] Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.

A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry can be divided in three fields; structural biologyenzymology and metabolism. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has through these three disciplines become successful at explaining living processes. Almost all areas of the life sciences are being uncovered and developed by biochemical methodology and research.[2] Biochemistry focuses on understanding the chemical basis which allows biological molecules to give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells,[3] which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissuesorgans, and organism structure and function.[4]

Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.[5]

Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteinsnucleic acidscarbohydrates and lipids, which provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.[6] The chemistry of the cell also depends on the reactions of smaller molecules and ions. These can be inorganic, for example water and metal ions, or organic, for example the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins.[7] The mechanisms by which cells harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicinenutrition, and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases.[8] In nutrition, they study how to maintain health wellness and study the effects of nutritional deficiencies.[9] In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers, and try to discover ways to improve crop cultivation, crop storage and pest control.



Main article: History of biochemistryGerty Cori and Carl Cori jointly won the Nobel Prize in 1947 for their discovery of the Cori cycle at RPMI.

At its broadest definition, biochemistry can be seen as a study of the components and composition of living things and how they come together to become life, in this sense the history of biochemistry may therefore go back as far as the ancient Greeks.[10] However, biochemistry as a specific scientific discipline has its beginning sometime in the 19th century, or a little earlier, depending on which aspect of biochemistry is being focused on. Some argued that the beginning of biochemistry may have been the discovery of the first enzymediastase (today called amylase), in 1833 by Anselme Payen,[11] while others considered Eduard Buchner‘s first demonstration of a complex biochemical process alcoholic fermentation in cell-free extracts in 1897 to be the birth of biochemistry.[12][13] Some might also point as its beginning to the influential 1842 work by Justus von LiebigAnimal chemistry, or, Organic chemistry in its applications to physiology and pathology, which presented a chemical theory of metabolism,[10] or even earlier to the 18th century studies on fermentation and respiration by Antoine Lavoisier.[14][15] Many other pioneers in the field who helped to uncover the layers of complexity of biochemistry have been proclaimed founders of modern biochemistry, for example Emil Fischer for his work on the chemistry of proteins,[16] and F. Gowland Hopkins on enzymes and the dynamic nature of biochemistry.[17]

The term “biochemistry” itself is derived from a combination of biology and chemistry. In 1877, Felix Hoppe-Seyler used the term (biochemie in German) as a synonym for physiological chemistry in the foreword to the first issue of Zeitschrift für Physiologische Chemie (Journal of Physiological Chemistry) where he argued for the setting up of institutes dedicated to this field of study.[18][19] The German chemist Carl Neuberg however is often cited to have coined the word in 1903,[20][21][22] while some credited it to Franz Hofmeister.[23]DNA structure (1D65​)[24]

It was once generally believed that life and its materials had some essential property or substance (often referred to as the “vital principle“) distinct from any found in non-living matter, and it was thought that only living beings could produce the molecules of life.[25] Then, in 1828, Friedrich Wöhler published a paper on the synthesis of urea, proving that organic compounds can be created artificially.[26] Since then, biochemistry has advanced, especially since the mid-20th century, with the development of new techniques such as chromatographyX-ray diffractiondual polarisation interferometryNMR spectroscopyradioisotopic labelingelectron microscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations. These techniques allowed for the discovery and detailed analysis of many molecules and metabolic pathways of the cell, such as glycolysis and the Krebs cycle (citric acid cycle), and led to an understanding of biochemistry on a molecular level. Philip Randle is well known for his discovery in diabetes research is possibly the glucose-fatty acid cycle in 1963. He confirmed that fatty acids reduce oxidation of sugar by the muscle. High fat oxidation was responsible for the insulin resistance.[27]

Another significant historic event in biochemistry is the discovery of the gene, and its role in the transfer of information in the cell. In the 1950s, James D. WatsonFrancis CrickRosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins were instrumental in solving DNA structure and suggesting its relationship with genetic transfer of information.[28] In 1958, George Beadle and Edward Tatum received the Nobel Prize for work in fungi showing that one gene produces one enzyme.[29] In 1988, Colin Pitchfork was the first person convicted of murder with DNA evidence, which led to the growth of forensic science.[30] More recently, Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello received the 2006 Nobel Prize for discovering the role of RNA interference (RNAi), in the silencing of gene expression.[31]

Starting materials: the chemical elements of life[edit]

The main elements that compose the human body are shown from most abundant (by mass) to least abundant.Main articles: Composition of the human body and Dietary mineral

Around two dozen of the 92 naturally occurring chemical elements are essential to various kinds of biological life. Most rare elements on Earth are not needed by life (exceptions being selenium and iodine)[citation needed], while a few common ones (aluminum and titanium) are not used. Most organisms share element needs, but there are a few differences between plants and animals. For example, ocean algae use bromine, but land plants and animals seem to need none. All animals require sodium, but some plants do not. Plants need boron and silicon, but animals may not (or may need ultra-small amounts).

Just six elements—carbonhydrogennitrogenoxygencalcium, and phosphorus—make up almost 99% of the mass of living cells, including those in the human body (see composition of the human body for a complete list). In addition to the six major elements that compose most of the human body, humans require smaller amounts of possibly 18 more.[32]


Main article: Biomolecule

The four main classes of molecules in biochemistry (often called biomolecules) are carbohydrateslipidsproteins, and nucleic acids.[33] Many biological molecules are polymers: in this terminology, monomers are relatively small micromolecules that are linked together to create large macromolecules known as polymers. When monomers are linked together to synthesize a biological polymer, they undergo a process called dehydration synthesis. Different macromolecules can assemble in larger complexes, often needed for biological activity.


Main articles: CarbohydrateMonosaccharideDisaccharide, and PolysaccharideCarbohydrates

Glucose, a monosaccharide

A molecule of sucrose (glucose + fructose), a disaccharide

Amylose, a polysaccharide made up of several thousand glucose units

Two of the main functions of carbohydrates are energy storage and providing structure. Sugars are carbohydrates, but not all carbohydrates are sugars. There are more carbohydrates on Earth than any other known type of biomolecule; they are used to store energy and genetic information, as well as play important roles in cell to cell interactions and communications.

The simplest type of carbohydrate is a monosaccharide, which among other properties contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, mostly in a ratio of 1:2:1 (generalized formula CnH2nOn, where n is at least 3). Glucose (C6H12O6) is one of the most important carbohydrates; others include fructose (C6H12O6), the sugar commonly associated with the sweet taste of fruits,[34][a] and deoxyribose (C5H10O4), a component of DNA. A monosaccharide can switch between acyclic (open-chain) form and a cyclic form. The open-chain form can be turned into a ring of carbon atoms bridged by an oxygen atom created from the carbonyl group of one end and the hydroxyl group of another. The cyclic molecule has a hemiacetal or hemiketal group, depending on whether the linear form was an aldose or a ketose.[35]

In these cyclic forms, the ring usually has 5 or 6 atoms. These forms are called furanoses and pyranoses, respectively—by analogy with furan and pyran, the simplest compounds with the same carbon-oxygen ring (although they lack the carbon-carbon double bonds of these two molecules). For example, the aldohexose glucose may form a hemiacetal linkage between the hydroxyl on carbon 1 and the oxygen on carbon 4, yielding a molecule with a 5-membered ring, called glucofuranose. The same reaction can take place between carbons 1 and 5 to form a molecule with a 6-membered ring, called glucopyranose. Cyclic forms with a 7-atom ring called heptoses are rare.

Two monosaccharides can be joined together by a glycosidic or ether bond into a disaccharide through a dehydration reaction during which a molecule of water is released. The reverse reaction in which the glycosidic bond of a disaccharide is broken into two monosaccharides is termed hydrolysis. The best-known disaccharide is sucrose or ordinary sugar, which consists of a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule joined together. Another important disaccharide is lactose found in milk, consisting of a glucose molecule and a galactose molecule. Lactose may be hydrolysed by lactase, and deficiency in this enzyme results in lactose intolerance.

When a few (around three to six) monosaccharides are joined, it is called an oligosaccharide (oligo- meaning “few”). These molecules tend to be used as markers and signals, as well as having some other uses.[36] Many monosaccharides joined together make a polysaccharide. They can be joined together in one long linear chain, or they may be branched. Two of the most common polysaccharides are cellulose and glycogen, both consisting of repeating glucose monomersCellulose is an important structural component of plant’s cell walls and glycogen is used as a form of energy storage in animals.

Sugar can be characterized by having reducing or non-reducing ends. A reducing end of a carbohydrate is a carbon atom that can be in equilibrium with the open-chain aldehyde (aldose) or keto form (ketose). If the joining of monomers takes place at such a carbon atom, the free hydroxy group of the pyranose or furanose form is exchanged with an OH-side-chain of another sugar, yielding a full acetal. This prevents opening of the chain to the aldehyde or keto form and renders the modified residue non-reducing. Lactose contains a reducing end at its glucose moiety, whereas the galactose moiety forms a full acetal with the C4-OH group of glucose. Saccharose does not have a reducing end because of full acetal formation between the aldehyde carbon of glucose (C1) and the keto carbon of fructose (C2).


Main articles: LipidGlycerol, and Fatty acidStructures of some common lipids. At the top are cholesterol and oleic acid.[37] The middle structure is a triglyceride composed of oleoylstearoyl, and palmitoyl chains attached to a glycerol backbone. At the bottom is the common phospholipidphosphatidylcholine.[38]

Lipids comprises a diverse range of molecules and to some extent is a catchall for relatively water-insoluble or nonpolar compounds of biological origin, including waxesfatty acids, fatty-acid derived phospholipidssphingolipidsglycolipids, and terpenoids (e.g., retinoids and steroids). Some lipids are linear, open chain aliphatic molecules, while others have ring structures. Some are aromatic (with a cyclic [ring] and planar [flat] structure) while others are not. Some are flexible, while others are rigid.[39]

Lipids are usually made from one molecule of glycerol combined with other molecules. In triglycerides, the main group of bulk lipids, there is one molecule of glycerol and three fatty acids. Fatty acids are considered the monomer in that case, and may be saturated (no double bonds in the carbon chain) or unsaturated (one or more double bonds in the carbon chain).[40]

Most lipids have some polar character in addition to being largely nonpolar. In general, the bulk of their structure is nonpolar or hydrophobic (“water-fearing”), meaning that it does not interact well with polar solvents like water. Another part of their structure is polar or hydrophilic (“water-loving”) and will tend to associate with polar solvents like water. This makes them amphiphilic molecules (having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic portions). In the case of cholesterol, the polar group is a mere –OH (hydroxyl or alcohol). In the case of phospholipids, the polar groups are considerably larger and more polar, as described below.[41]

Lipids are an integral part of our daily diet. Most oils and milk products that we use for cooking and eating like buttercheeseghee etc., are composed of fatsVegetable oils are rich in various polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Lipid-containing foods undergo digestion within the body and are broken into fatty acids and glycerol, which are the final degradation products of fats and lipids. Lipids, especially phospholipids, are also used in various pharmaceutical products, either as co-solubilisers (e.g., in parenteral infusions) or else as drug carrier components (e.g., in a liposome or transfersome).


Main articles: Protein and Amino acidThe general structure of an α-amino acid, with the amino group on the left and the carboxyl group on the right.

Proteins are very large molecules—macro-biopolymers—made from monomers called amino acids. An amino acid consists of an alpha carbon atom attached to an amino group, –NH2, a carboxylic acid group, –COOH (although these exist as –NH3+ and –COO under physiologic conditions), a simple hydrogen atom, and a side chain commonly denoted as “–R”. The side chain “R” is different for each amino acid of which there are 20 standard ones. It is this “R” group that made each amino acid different, and the properties of the side-chains greatly influence the overall three-dimensional conformation of a protein. Some amino acids have functions by themselves or in a modified form; for instance, glutamate functions as an important neurotransmitter. Amino acids can be joined via a peptide bond. In this dehydration synthesis, a water molecule is removed and the peptide bond connects the nitrogen of one amino acid’s amino group to the carbon of the other’s carboxylic acid group. The resulting molecule is called a dipeptide, and short stretches of amino acids (usually, fewer than thirty) are called peptides or polypeptides. Longer stretches merit the title proteins. As an example, the important blood serum protein albumin contains 585 amino acid residues.[42]Generic amino acids (1) in neutral form, (2) as they exist physiologically, and (3) joined together as a dipeptide.A schematic of hemoglobin. The red and blue ribbons represent the protein globin; the green structures are the heme groups.

Proteins can have structural and/or functional roles. For instance, movements of the proteins actin and myosin ultimately are responsible for the contraction of skeletal muscle. One property many proteins have is that they specifically bind to a certain molecule or class of molecules—they may be extremely selective in what they bind. Antibodies are an example of proteins that attach to one specific type of molecule. Antibodies are composed of heavy and light chains. Two heavy chains would be linked to two light chains through disulfide linkages between their amino acids. Antibodies are specific through variation based on differences in the N-terminal domain.[43]

In fact, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), which uses antibodies, is one of the most sensitive tests modern medicine uses to detect various biomolecules. Probably the most important proteins, however, are the enzymes. Virtually every reaction in a living cell requires an enzyme to lower the activation energy of the reaction. These molecules recognize specific reactant molecules called substrates; they then catalyze the reaction between them. By lowering the activation energy, the enzyme speeds up that reaction by a rate of 1011 or more; a reaction that would normally take over 3,000 years to complete spontaneously might take less than a second with an enzyme. The enzyme itself is not used up in the process, and is free to catalyze the same reaction with a new set of substrates. Using various modifiers, the activity of the enzyme can be regulated, enabling control of the biochemistry of the cell as a whole.[citation needed]

The structure of proteins is traditionally described in a hierarchy of four levels. The primary structure of a protein consists of its linear sequence of amino acids; for instance, “alanine-glycine-tryptophan-serine-glutamate-asparagine-glycine-lysine-…”. Secondary structure is concerned with local morphology (morphology being the study of structure). Some combinations of amino acids will tend to curl up in a coil called an α-helix or into a sheet called a β-sheet; some α-helixes can be seen in the hemoglobin schematic above. Tertiary structure is the entire three-dimensional shape of the protein. This shape is determined by the sequence of amino acids. In fact, a single change can change the entire structure. The alpha chain of hemoglobin contains 146 amino acid residues; substitution of the glutamate residue at position 6 with a valine residue changes the behavior of hemoglobin so much that it results in sickle-cell disease. Finally, quaternary structure is concerned with the structure of a protein with multiple peptide subunits, like hemoglobin with its four subunits. Not all proteins have more than one subunit.[44]Examples of protein structures from the Protein Data BankMembers of a protein family, as represented by the structures of the isomerasedomains

Ingested proteins are usually broken up into single amino acids or dipeptides in the small intestine, and then absorbed. They can then be joined to make new proteins. Intermediate products of glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and the pentose phosphate pathway can be used to make all twenty amino acids, and most bacteria and plants possess all the necessary enzymes to synthesize them. Humans and other mammals, however, can synthesize only half of them. They cannot synthesize isoleucineleucinelysinemethioninephenylalaninethreoninetryptophan, and valine. These are the essential amino acids, since it is essential to ingest them. Mammals do possess the enzymes to synthesize alanineasparagineaspartatecysteineglutamateglutamineglycineprolineserine, and tyrosine, the nonessential amino acids. While they can synthesize arginine and histidine, they cannot produce it in sufficient amounts for young, growing animals, and so these are often considered essential amino acids.

If the amino group is removed from an amino acid, it leaves behind a carbon skeleton called an α-keto acid. Enzymes called transaminases can easily transfer the amino group from one amino acid (making it an α-keto acid) to another α-keto acid (making it an amino acid). This is important in the biosynthesis of amino acids, as for many of the pathways, intermediates from other biochemical pathways are converted to the α-keto acid skeleton, and then an amino group is added, often via transamination. The amino acids may then be linked together to make a protein.[45]

A similar process is used to break down proteins. It is first hydrolyzed into its component amino acids. Free ammonia (NH3), existing as the ammonium ion (NH4+) in blood, is toxic to life forms. A suitable method for excreting it must therefore exist. Different tactics have evolved in different animals, depending on the animals’ needs. Unicellular organisms simply release the ammonia into the environment. Likewise, bony fish can release the ammonia into the water where it is quickly diluted. In general, mammals convert the ammonia into urea, via the urea cycle.[46]

In order to determine whether two proteins are related, or in other words to decide whether they are homologous or not, scientists use sequence-comparison methods. Methods like sequence alignments and structural alignments are powerful tools that help scientists identify homologies between related molecules.[47] The relevance of finding homologies among proteins goes beyond forming an evolutionary pattern of protein families. By finding how similar two protein sequences are, we acquire knowledge about their structure and therefore their function.

Nucleic acids[edit]

Main articles: Nucleic acidDNARNA, and NucleotideThe structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the picture shows the monomers being put together.

Nucleic acids, so called because of their prevalence in cellular nuclei, is the generic name of the family of biopolymers. They are complex, high-molecular-weight biochemical macromolecules that can convey genetic information in all living cells and viruses.[2] The monomers are called nucleotides, and each consists of three components: a nitrogenous heterocyclic base (either a purine or a pyrimidine), a pentose sugar, and a phosphate group.[48]Structural elements of common nucleic acid constituents. Because they contain at least one phosphate group, the compounds marked nucleoside monophosphatenucleoside diphosphate and nucleoside triphosphate are all nucleotides (not simply phosphate-lacking nucleosides).

The most common nucleic acids are deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).[49] The phosphate group and the sugar of each nucleotide bond with each other to form the backbone of the nucleic acid, while the sequence of nitrogenous bases stores the information. The most common nitrogenous bases are adeninecytosineguaninethymine, and uracil. The nitrogenous bases of each strand of a nucleic acid will form hydrogen bonds with certain other nitrogenous bases in a complementary strand of nucleic acid (similar to a zipper). Adenine binds with thymine and uracil; thymine binds only with adenine; and cytosine and guanine can bind only with one another.

Aside from the genetic material of the cell, nucleic acids often play a role as second messengers, as well as forming the base molecule for adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy-carrier molecule found in all living organisms.[50] Also, the nitrogenous bases possible in the two nucleic acids are different: adenine, cytosine, and guanine occur in both RNA and DNA, while thymine occurs only in DNA and uracil occurs in RNA.


Carbohydrates as energy source[edit]

Main article: Carbohydrate metabolism

Glucose is an energy source in most life forms. For instance, polysaccharides are broken down into their monomers by enzymes (glycogen phosphorylase removes glucose residues from glycogen, a polysaccharide). Disaccharides like lactose or sucrose are cleaved into their two component monosaccharides.

Glycolysis (anaerobic)[edit]

GlucoseG6PF6PF1,6BPGADPDHAP1,3BPG3PG2PGPEPPyruvateHKPGIPFKALDOTPIGAPDHPGKPGMENOPKGlycolysisThe image above contains clickable linksThe metabolic pathway of glycolysis converts glucose to pyruvate by via a series of intermediate metabolites. Each chemical modification (red box) is performed by a different enzyme. Steps 1 and 3 consume ATP (blue) and steps 7 and 10 produce ATP (yellow). Since steps 6-10 occur twice per glucose molecule, this leads to a net production of ATP.

Glucose is mainly metabolized by a very important ten-step pathway called glycolysis, the net result of which is to break down one molecule of glucose into two molecules of pyruvate. This also produces a net two molecules of ATP, the energy currency of cells, along with two reducing equivalents of converting NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide: oxidized form) to NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide: reduced form). This does not require oxygen; if no oxygen is available (or the cell cannot use oxygen), the NAD is restored by converting the pyruvate to lactate (lactic acid) (e.g., in humans) or to ethanol plus carbon dioxide (e.g., in yeast). Other monosaccharides like galactose and fructose can be converted into intermediates of the glycolytic pathway.[51]


In aerobic cells with sufficient oxygen, as in most human cells, the pyruvate is further metabolized. It is irreversibly converted to acetyl-CoA, giving off one carbon atom as the waste product carbon dioxide, generating another reducing equivalent as NADH. The two molecules acetyl-CoA (from one molecule of glucose) then enter the citric acid cycle, producing two molecules of ATP, six more NADH molecules and two reduced (ubi)quinones (via FADH2 as enzyme-bound cofactor), and releasing the remaining carbon atoms as carbon dioxide. The produced NADH and quinol molecules then feed into the enzyme complexes of the respiratory chain, an electron transport system transferring the electrons ultimately to oxygen and conserving the released energy in the form of a proton gradient over a membrane (inner mitochondrial membrane in eukaryotes). Thus, oxygen is reduced to water and the original electron acceptors NAD+ and quinone are regenerated. This is why humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. The energy released from transferring the electrons from high-energy states in NADH and quinol is conserved first as proton gradient and converted to ATP via ATP synthase. This generates an additional 28 molecules of ATP (24 from the 8 NADH + 4 from the 2 quinols), totaling to 32 molecules of ATP conserved per degraded glucose (two from glycolysis + two from the citrate cycle).[52] It is clear that using oxygen to completely oxidize glucose provides an organism with far more energy than any oxygen-independent metabolic feature, and this is thought to be the reason why complex life appeared only after Earth’s atmosphere accumulated large amounts of oxygen.


Main article: Gluconeogenesis

In vertebrates, vigorously contracting skeletal muscles (during weightlifting or sprinting, for example) do not receive enough oxygen to meet the energy demand, and so they shift to anaerobic metabolism, converting glucose to lactate. The liver regenerates the glucose, using a process called gluconeogenesis. This process is not quite the opposite of glycolysis, and actually requires three times the amount of energy gained from glycolysis (six molecules of ATP are used, compared to the two gained in glycolysis). Analogous to the above reactions, the glucose produced can then undergo glycolysis in tissues that need energy, be stored as glycogen (or starch in plants), or be converted to other monosaccharides or joined into di- or oligosaccharides. The combined pathways of glycolysis during exercise, lactate’s crossing via the bloodstream to the liver, subsequent gluconeogenesis and release of glucose into the bloodstream is called the Cori cycle.[53]

Relationship to other “molecular-scale” biological sciences[edit]

Schematic relationship between biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology.

Researchers in biochemistry use specific techniques native to biochemistry, but increasingly combine these with techniques and ideas developed in the fields of geneticsmolecular biology and biophysics. There is not a defined line between these disciplines. Biochemistry studies the chemistry required for biological activity of molecules, molecular biology studies their biological activity, genetics studies their heredity, which happens to be carried by their genome. This is shown in the following schematic that depicts one possible view of the relationships between the fields:[54]

  • Biochemistry is the study of the chemical substances and vital processes occurring in live organismsBiochemists focus heavily on the role, function, and structure of biomolecules. The study of the chemistry behind biological processes and the synthesis of biologically active molecules are examples of biochemistry.[55]. Biochemistry studies life at the atomic and molecular level.
  • Genetics is the study of the effect of genetic differences in organisms. This can often be inferred by the absence of a normal component (e.g. one gene). The study of “mutants” – organisms which lack one or more functional components with respect to the so-called “wild type” or normal phenotype. Genetic interactions (epistasis) can often confound simple interpretations of such “knockout” studies.[56]
  • Molecular biology is the study of molecular underpinnings of the processes of replicationtranscriptiontranslation, and cell function. The central dogma of molecular biology where genetic material is transcribed into RNA and then translated into protein, despite being oversimplified, still provides a good starting point for understanding the field. The picture has been revised in light of emerging novel roles for RNA.[57]. Molecular Biology studies life at the molecular and cellular level
  • Chemical biology seeks to develop new tools based on small molecules that allow minimal perturbation of biological systems while providing detailed information about their function. Further, chemical biology employs biological systems to create non-natural hybrids between biomolecules and synthetic devices (for example emptied viral capsids that can deliver gene therapy or drug molecules).[58]


Extremophiles are microorganisms which live in extreme conditions, some of which may provide some exceptions or variations on some of the natural laws cited above. For example, in July 2019, a scientific study of Kidd Mine in Canada discovered sulfur-breathing organisms which live 7900 feet below the surface, and which absorb sulfur instead of oxygen to facilitate cellular respiration. These organisms are also remarkable due to eating rocks such as pyrite as their regular food source.[59][60][61]

See also[edit]

Main article: Outline of biochemistry


See also[edit]


a. ^ Fructose is not the only sugar found in fruits. Glucose and sucrose are also found in varying quantities in various fruits, and sometimes exceed the fructose present. For example, 32% of the edible portion of a date is glucose, compared with 24% fructose and 8% sucrose. However, peaches contain more sucrose (6.66%) than they do fructose (0.93%) or glucose (1.47%).[62]


  1. ^ “Biological/Biochemistry”
  2. Jump up to:a b Voet (2005), p. 3.
  3. ^ Karp (2009), p. 2.
  4. ^ Miller (2012). p. 62.
  5. ^ Astbury (1961), p. 1124.
  6. ^ Eldra (2007), p. 45.
  7. ^ Marks (2012), Chapter 14.
  8. ^ Finkel (2009), pp. 1–4.
  9. ^ UNICEF (2010), pp. 61, 75.
  10. Jump up to:a b Helvoort (2000), p. 81.
  11. ^ Hunter (2000), p. 75.
  12. ^ Hamblin (2005), p. 26.
  13. ^ Hunter (2000), pp. 96–98.
  14. ^ Berg (1980), pp. 1–2.
  15. ^ Holmes (1987), p. xv.
  16. ^ Feldman (2001), p. 206.
  17. ^ Rayner-Canham (2005), p. 136.
  18. ^ Ziesak (1999), p. 169.
  19. ^ Kleinkauf (1988), p. 116.
  20. ^ Ben-Menahem (2009), p. 2982.
  21. ^ Amsler (1986), p. 55.
  22. ^ Horton (2013), p. 36.
  23. ^ Kleinkauf (1988), p. 43.
  24. ^ Edwards (1992), pp. 1161–1173.
  25. ^ Fiske (1890), pp. 419–20.
  26. ^ Kauffman (2001), pp. 121–133.
  27. ^ Ashcroft(2006)
  28. ^ Tropp (2012), pp. 19–20.
  29. ^ Krebs (2012), p. 32.
  30. ^ Butler (2009), p. 5.
  31. ^ Chandan (2007), pp. 193–194.
  32. ^ Nielsen (1999), pp. 283–303.
  33. ^ Slabaugh (2007), pp. 3–6.
  34. ^ Whiting (1970), pp. 1–31.
  35. ^ Voet (2005), pp. 358–359.
  36. ^ Varki (1999), p. 17.
  37. ^ Stryer (2007), p. 328.
  38. ^ Voet (2005), Ch. 12 Lipids and Membranes.
  39. ^ Fromm and Hargrove (2012), pp. 22–27.
  40. ^ Voet (2005), pp. 382–385.
  41. ^ Voet (2005), pp. 385–389.
  42. ^ Metzler (2001), p. 58.
  43. ^ Feige, Matthias J.; Hendershot, Linda M.; Buchner, Johannes (2010). “How antibodies fold”Trends in Biochemical Sciences35 (4): 189–198. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2009.11.005PMC 4716677PMID 20022755.
  44. ^ Fromm and Hargrove (2012), pp. 35–51.
  45. ^ Fromm and Hargrove (2012), pp. 279–292.
  46. ^ Sherwood (2012), p. 558.
  47. ^ Fariselli (2007), pp. 78–87.
  48. ^ Saenger (1984), p. 84.
  49. ^ Tropp (2012), pp. 5–9.
  50. ^ |Knowles]] (1980), pp. 877–919.
  51. ^ Fromm and Hargrove (2012), pp. 163–180.
  52. ^ Voet (2005), Ch. 17 Glycolysis.
  53. ^ Fromm and Hargrove (2012), pp. 183–194.
  54. ^ Lodish, Harvey; Berk, Arnold; Zipursky, S. Lawrence; Matsudaira, Paul; Baltimore, David; Darnell, James (2000). Molecular cell biology(4th ed.). New York: Scientific American Books. ISBN 978-0-7167-3136-8.
  55. ^ Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L, Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L (2002). Biochemistry(5th ed.). W H Freeman. ISBN 978-0-7167-3051-4.chapter 1
  56. ^ Reference, Genetics Home. “Help Me Understand Genetics”Genetics Home Reference. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  57. ^ Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Morgan D, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P (2014). Molecular Biology of the Cell, Sixth Edition. Garland Science. pp. 1–10. ISBN 978-1-317-56375-4.
  58. ^ Rojas-Ruiz (2011), pp. 2672–2687.
  59. ^ ‘Follow the Water’: Hydrogeochemical Constraints on Microbial Investigations 2.4 km Below Surface at the Kidd Creek Deep Fluid and Deep Life Observatory, Garnet S. Lollar, Oliver Warr, Jon Telling, Magdalena R. Osburn & Barbara Sherwood Lollar, Received 15 Jan 2019, Accepted 01 Jul 2019, Published online: 18 Jul 2019.
  60. ^ World’s Oldest Groundwater Supports Life Through Water-Rock Chemistry, July 29, 2019,
  61. ^ Strange life-forms found deep in a mine point to vast ‘underground Galapagos’, By Corey S. Powell, Sept. 7, 2019,
  62. ^ Whiting, G.C. (1970), p. 5.

Cited literature[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikibooks has more on the topic of: Biochemistry
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Biochemistry.
At Wikiversity, you can learn more and teach others about Biochemistry at the Department of Biochemistry
showvteBranches of biology
showvteBranches of chemistry
showvteGlossaries of science and engineering
Authority control GND4006777-4HDS044243LCCNsh85014171NARA10638831NDL00570312


Navigation menu




In other projects



Edit links


  1. You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write.
    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who
    aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.


  2. I am often to running a blog and i really respect your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and maintain checking for brand spanking new information.


  3. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your website in web explorer, would test this?
    IE nonetheless is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your excellent writing because of
    this problem.


  4. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Appreciate it


  5. Currently it looks like WordPress is the best blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?


  6. Glaube unbestreitbar das, was Sie gesagt haben. Ihre Lieblingsbegr�ndung schien im Internet die einfachste Sache zu sein, der man sich bewusst sein muss. Ich sage Ihnen, ich bin sicherlich genervt, wenn Leute �ber Sorgen nachdenken, von denen sie nicht wissen. Sie haben es geschafft, den Nagel auf den Kopf zu treffen auch , Leute k�nnten ein Signal aufnehmen. Werde wahrscheinlich zur�ckkommen um mehr zu bekommen. Danke


  7. Good site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s