37200 - Chemistry andBiochemistry I (A)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Medicine and Surgery (cod. 5904)

Learning outcomes

The course provides knowledge in the following areas:

- general characteristics of chemical reactions (stoichiometry, kinetics and spontaneity);

- properties of the chemical components of living organisms: structure and properties of simple and complex carbohydrates and lipids;

- thermodynamic aspects of biochemical processes and fundamentals of cellular bioenergetics;

- structural and functional properties of proteins;

- enzyme mechanism of action and kinetics; regulation of biochemical reactions rate;

- structure of nucleic acids and description of DNA replication, transcription and translation (protein synthesis).

Course contents


Chemical reactions and equations. Lavoisier's law and balancing equations. Definition of mole. Stoichiometric calculations.

Classification of chemical reactions. Oxidation number. Redox reactions. Electrochemical cells. Standard reduction potentials: the electrochemical series. Nernst equation. Spontaneity in redox reactions. Standard potentials in biochemistry.

Solutions. Definitions. Electrolytic and non-electrolytic solutions. Measures of concentration. Colligative properties. Raoult's law. The elevation of boiling point. The depression of freezing point. Osmosis and osmotic pressure. Biological implications.

Chemical kinetics. Reaction rates. Collision theory. Activated-complex theory. Reaction energy profiles. Rate laws and reaction order. Reaction mechanisms: elementary and multi-step reactions. Molecolarity. Half-life. Arrhenius equation. Catalysts.

Chemical equilibrium. Definition. Law of mass action and equilibrium constant. Parameters influencing the equilibrium position. Le Chatelier's Principle. Chemical equilibrium in heterogeneous systems.

Acids and bases in aqueous solution. Autoionization of water and Kw constant. Definition of pH. Definition of acid, basic and neutral solutions. Ionic equilibria in aqueous solutions: acids and bases. Arrhenius acid-base theory. Brönsted-Lowry acid-base theory. Dissociation equilibria of weak acids and bases. Ka and Kb. Polyprotic acids. Hydrolysis. Buffer solutions and Henderson-Hasselbalch equation. Biological buffers. pH of amphoteric electrolytes. Isoelectric pH. Lewis acid-base theory. Acid-base titrations.

Solubility equilibria. Solubility product constant. Ksp and solubility. Common ion effect.

Overview on the structure of complex ions.


Introduction to organic chemistry. Electronic configuration of carbon. Ibridization and stereochemistry. Classification of organic reactions.

Structure, properties and reactivity of the main classes of organic compounds. Aliphatic hydrocarbons. Alkanes and cycloalkanes, alkenes and alkynes. Structural and cis/trans isomerism. Aromatic hydrocarbons and resonance. Heterocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Halides, alcohols, enols, phenols, thyols, ethers, thyoethers, amines, ketones, aldehydes, carboxylic acids and derivatives. Organic kinetic mechanisms. Reactions of elimination, addition, substitution.

Biomolecules. Chirality, steroisomerism and optical activity. Carbohydrates: aldoses e ketoses (linear and cyclic formulas). Mutarotation and anomers. Disaccharides and polysaccharides. Lipids. Fatty acids. Triglycerides. Saponification. Phosfolipids and sphingolipids. Amino acids: structure and properties. Isoelectric point. Titration of amino acids.


K.J. Denniston, J.J. Topping, R.L. Caret “Chimica generale Chimica Organica Propedeutica Biochimica” Ed. McGraw-Hill

A. Bertoluzza et al. “Guida allo studio della Chimica” Ed. Esculapio.

Teaching material can be downloaded through Virtuale (https://virtuale.unibo.it/).

Teaching methods

Lectures (4 CFU, i.e. 32 hours), additional lessons (not compulsory) on stoichiometric problems solving.

Assessment methods

Written examinations in Chemistry and General Biochemistry (Chemistry-Prof. P. Taddei; General Biochemistry-Prof. A. Baracca and Dr. C. Zanna). Please refer to Guideweb by Prof. A. Baracca and Dr. C. Zanna for General Biochemistry. The exam is passed only if positive grades are obtained in both disciplines.

Students have 50 minutes available for the written exam of Chemistry. It consists of open questions and stoichiometric exercises: 2 for general chemistry and 2 for organic chemistry/biomolecules. The score of each question is 7.5 if the answer is correct and complete and progressively lower if the answer contains errors or is incomplete. Therefore, maximum score is 30. The exam is passed with a minimum score of 18. Examples of exam open questions and stoichiometric exercises are available at Virtuale (https://virtuale.unibo.it). During the exam, the use of support materials such as textbooks, notes is not allowed.

The mark of Chemistry and General Chemistry is valid for a period of one year. The upload of the report on the laboratory experiment (titration curve, Laboratorio di Biochimica A-K 1) is required on Virtuale (https://virtuale.unibo.it ) before the exam of Chemistry and General Biochemistry.

To book an exam, the student must use AlmaEsami (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm ).

Teaching tools

Teaching material can be downloaded through Virtuale (https://virtuale.unibo.it/).

Office hours

See the website of Paola Taddei