66942 - Bio-Organic Chemistry

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 Quality education Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student will gain a good knowledge of bio-organic chemistry, that includes the structure and reactivity of biological molecules, such as peptides, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. The student will also study the most important metabolic pathways (both anabolism and katabolism), including all the reaction mechanisms.

Course contents

Structure and function of the main classes of biomolecules: lipids, carbohydrates, aminoacids, and nucleic acids.

AMINOACIDS: proteinogenic and non-proteinogenic aminoacids. Proteins; peptidic bond, structure and functions of proteins.

Protein synthesis. Enzymes and coenzymes. Aminoacid metabolism.

CARBOHYDRATES: monosaccharides, oligo- and polysaccharides. Sugar metabolism and gluconeogenesis. Photosynthesis and synthesis of carbohydrates in plants.

NUCLEIC ACIDS: nucleo-bases. Biogenesis and metabolism of nucleotides. Genetic code.

LIPIDS: classification, fatty acids, terpenes, steroids, prostanoids. Biogenesis and metabolism of lipids. Cell membranes.


  • Introduction to Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology - D.Van Vranken, G. A. Weiss ed. 2013, Garland Science

  • The Organic Chemistry of Biological pathways- J. McMurry, T. Begley - 2nd ed. 2016

  • Biochemistry - R.H. Garrett, C.M. Grisham - 2013 V ed. Piccin
  • Biochemistry - J.M. Berg, J.L.Tymoczko, L. Stryer - VII ed. 2012 Zanichelli

Teaching methods

Lessons consist in oral sessions that include presentations of examples  and discussions.

An active student participation to the discussion session is strongly recommended to develop problem solving skills

Assessment methods

Viva voce examination (English or Italian on request) on the course topics.

Excellent degree (28-30) will be acquired with a good assessment that obtained with a very good knowledge of the contents of the course , a good usage of technical language, and high performance in reasoning and application of the competences.

Fairly good assessments (24-27) could be obtained with a good knowledge of the contents, an appropriate usage of technical language, but with a rote-learning.

Limited abilities in reasoning and application of the contents, a limited technical language, and a sufficient knowledge of contents will give a sufficient assessment (18-23)

Inadequate knowledge of contents and/or technical language and/or insufficiency in preliminary knowledge in organic chemistry will give a negative assessment.

Teaching tools

Oral lectures and computer presentations that could be retrived on the web platform IoL (Insegnamenti on-line) upon registration.
Take notes during the lectures is mandatory.

Office hours

See the website of Daria Giacomini