37200 - Chemistry and Biochemistry  I (AK-A)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

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

Complexes of transition metals: definitions and general properties.

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.

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.

pH measurement.  Indicators. Acid-base titrations.

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

Electronic configuration of carbon. Ibridization and stereochemistry. Aliphatic hydrocarbons. Alkanes and cycloalkanes, alkenes and alkynes. Structural and cis/trans isomerism. Aromatic hydrocarbons and resonance. Heterocyclic  aromatic hydrocarbons. Structure and properties of monofunctional compounds: halides, alcohols, enols, phenols, thyols, ethers, thyoethers, amines, ketones, aldehydes, carboxylic acids and derivatives.

Organic kinetic mechanisms. Reactions of elimination, addition, substitution.

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 Insegnamenti online - Supporto online alla didattica (https://iol.unibo.it/).

Teaching methods

Lectures, additional lessons (not compulsory) on stoichiometric problems solving.

Assessment methods

January and February exam session: written examination (lasting 1h 30’) in Chemistry (open questions and stoichiometric exercises: 2 for general chemistry and 2 for organic chemistry/biomolecules) and General Biochemistry. The exam is passed only if positive grades are obtained in both disciplines. Examples of exam open questions and stoichiometric exercises will be available at Insegnamenti online - Supporto online alla didattica (https://iol.unibo.it). The use of periodic table is allowed.

Following exam sessions: oral examination. The mark of Chemistry and General Chemistry is valid for a period of one year. To book an exam, the student must use AlmaEsami (https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm).

Teaching tools

Teaching material can be downloaded through Insegnamenti online - Supporto online alla didattica (https://iol.unibo.it/).

Office hours

See the website of Paola Taddei