66194 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry M

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The Course is aimed at presenting fundamental knowledge on the role of metals in biological systems. In particular, the students will gain insights on: the role of group I and II metals, the role of transition metals in electron transfer, photosynthesis and oxygen transport; metal enzymes; biochemistry of iron; nitrogen fixation; essential elements in biological systems; metals in medicine.

Course contents


The prerequisites required for this course are:

a) General and inorganic chemistry;

b) Inorganic chemistry: atomic properties, chemical bond, properties of the main elements, coordination chemistry, transition metals and crystal field theory;

c) Fundamental of organic chemistry and biochemistry;

d) Basic nuclear chemistry;

e) Spectroscopic techniques for molecular characterization;

f) Thermodynamic and thermochemistry;

g) Basic electrochemistry.



Fundamental concepts in coordination chemistry: molecular geometry and isomerism. Introduction to bioinorganic chemistry and the role of metals in biological systems.

1) Bioinorganic chemistry: definition and basic principles;

2) Classification of essential elements;

3) Main metals of biological interest and their roles;

4) Metalloproteins: structures and functions;

5) Biological role of alcali metals: ionophores, ion channels, Na/K-ATPase;

6) Calcium and magnesium: biominerals, chlorophyll, regulatory role of Ca, enzymes;

7) Biological role of Zn: properties, Zn-enzymes, structural role, Zn-fingers;

8) Biological role of Fe: classification of Fe-proteins; transferrin and ferritine; hemoglobin and myoglobin; cytochromes and electron transfer; cytochrome P450; Fe-S proteins;

9) Biological role of Cu: main Cu-proteins and their role; blu copper proteins; Cu-Zn-SOD; cytochrome c oxidases and respiratory chain;

10) Biological role of Mn: Mn-proteins, properties and functions;

11) Photosynthesis;

12) Biological role of Mo and nitrogen fixation;

13) Biological role of Co: B12 vitamin;

14) Brief introduction to the biological role of Ni;

15) Metals in medicine.



J. E. Huheey, A. E. Keiter, R. L. Keiter “Chimica Inorganica” Casa Editrice Piccin Padova.

D. F. Shriver, P.W.Atkins, C.H.Langford, 'Chimica Inorganica '; Zanichelli.

R. M. Roat Malone “Bioinorganic Chemistry” Wiley.

I. Bertini, H. B. Gray, E. I. Stiefel, J. S. Valentine, “Biological Inorganic Chemistry, University Science Books.

W. Kaim, B. Schwedereski, A. Klein, "Bioinorganic chemistry: inorganic elements in the chemistry of life", Wiley.

Teaching methods

The course includes class lectures and tutorial activities. Lectures are supported by slide projection. Class discussion is encouraged.

Assessment methods

Students are asked to take an oral examination in one of the scheduled sessions at the end of the course. The exam is based on the topics of the course and is aimed at checking the understanding of the student and his/her capacity to apply the concepts of inorganic chemistry to biochemsitry.  

The oral examination consists into two consecutive parts. During the fits part, the student is required to present in an extensive and detailed manner, also with the help of the board, a topic of his/her choice selected among those treated during the course. At the end of the presentation, the student might be asked to give explanations and further details on the topic presented.

The second part of the oral examination consists of some questions, usually 2-3, on the other topics covered during the course and different from that presented in Part 1. The student is requested to answer these questions in a synthetic manner with particular regard to the fundamental aspects of each topic.

The final grade, expressed on a 30 base, is based on the capacity of the student to present the different topics in a synthetic and complete manner, and to understand the links among the topics of the course and fundamental concepts of inorganic chemistry.

The duration of the oral examination is ca. 45 minutes.


Teaching tools

Teaching supports include PowerPoint presentations, and slide projection. Documents and slides shown are made available to students as pc files. The teaching material for the preparation of the final exam is available to students via the web at: [http://campus.unibo.it/]. Usernames and passwords are reserved to Unibo students and are given by the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Zacchini