7 Sub Branches of Biochemistry – The Study – Defination – Fields – Classifications

Thus, Biochemistry is the Branches of Chemistry. Biochemistry has emerged as dynamic science within the past hundred years. On 1500 up to 1800s, there were rapid advances in the understanding of basic chemical principles, such as reaction kinetics and the atomic composition of molecules. Many chemical produced in living organism had been identifier by the 19th of century. Since then the growth of biochemistry and its influences on other disciplines continued well on 20th century.

Biochemistry is a study of the molecules and chemical reaction that happen in life or living things. From the term, we could assume that this study is about combining two major sciences that are biology and chemistry. However, the real definition of biochemistry is about using language of chemistry to explain another science that is biology at the molecular level.

The study of biochemistry has shown that the same compounds and the same central metabolic processes are found in organism as distantly related as bacteria and humans. Although, scientist usually concentrates their research focus on particular organisms, the results of these studies often apply to other species.

One of the goals of biochemist is to integrate a large body of knowledge into a molecular explanation of life. Biochemistry as a discipline dies not exist in a vacuum and related to many others discipline such as physiology, genetics and cell biology. As a result, the sub branches of biochemistry are animal and plant biochemistry, immunology, genetic, immunology, and enzyemology.

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1. Animal Biochemistry

The diversity among animals in this life is one of the most important aspects of the world. Since ancient time, scientist has been concerned with the ordering and classifying those diversities. At first, only the structures and processes are recognizable but with the technology development, which discovered the electron microscope along with the development of biology enable scientist to study the diversity at deeper level that is molecular.

In other word, biochemistry means the study of molecule and chemical reaction happen in life, then animal biochemistry study a the specific meaning of life it self and interpret it as animal. The study of animal biochemistry is to analyze animal

This study is very significant to veterinary science and animal husbandry. Animal biochemistry is the first sub branches of biochemistry. This study particullary help to understand  animal health and decease by understanding it metabolism and its function.

2. Plant Biochemistry

Plant biochemistry examines the molecular mechanism of plant life. One of major topic in plant biochemistry is photosynthesis which mostly happen in the leaves. Photosynthesis is the process of transferring the sun energy to synthesize carbohydrates and amino acids from water, carbon dioxide, nitrate and sulfate. Via the vascular system, a major part of these products is transported from the leaves through the stem into other regions of the plant, where they are required, for example, to build up the roots and supply them with energy.

Contrary with animal, plant have a very large surface. Often with thin leaves in order to keep diffusion pathway of COin a short time so it can catch light as much as possible. The disadvantages of having a large surface, this make plant vulnerable because it expose it self when extreme condition occurred such as drought, heat, cold or even frost as well as an excess of radiated energy.

  • Photosynthesis

In early of 1771, Joseph Priestly a Britssh man, discovered that plant evolve oxygen in the presence if sunlight and concluded that oxygen is a product of photosynthesis and it purifies air in meaning of producing oxygen. More later then in 1937, Robert Hill demonstrated that water is the source of evolution of molecular oxygen during the light phase of photosynthesis. His discovery is known as Hill reaction.

Photosynthesis start when plants and cyanobacteria capture the sun light or ultraviolet and utilize its energy to synthesize organic compounds from inorganic compounds such as CO2, nitrate, and sulfate to synthesize their cellular material. This ability called photoautotrophic. In photosynthesis, oxygen and hydrogen are splitted from water by photon energy, the latter bound named NADPH. In this process, termed the light reaction, takes place in the photosynthetic reaction centers embedded in membranes.

It involves the transport of electrons, which is coupled to the synthesis of ATP. Meanwhile, NADPH and ATP are consumed in a so-called dark reaction to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2. The photosynthesis of plants and cyanobacteria created the biomass on earth, including the deposits of fossil fuels and atmospheric oxygen.

Animals and humans are dependent on the supply of carbohydrates and other organic compounds as food which makes them heterotrophic or mean they can not create energy by itself.

They generate the energy required for their life processes by oxidizing the biomass, which has first been produced by plants. When oxygen is consumed, CO2 is formed. Thus light energy captured by plants is the source of energy for the life processes of animals.

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3. Molecular and Cell Biology

Every organism on earth is consist of cell either one single cell or more. The cell can be considered as a droplet of water containing dissolved and suspended material, enclosed by a surrounding structure or so-called the plasma membrane.

A living cell is the biological unit of activity. It represent the smallest portion of an organism that exhibits a range of properties associated with the living matter. Therefore, the understanding of cell in biochemistry is very fundamental and a must thing to do. Cell exist in variety of sizes and shapes, however all cell can be classified into two categories, the eukaryotic cell and prokaryotic cell.

  • Prokaryotic Cells

Prokaryotic cells consist less complex internal structure, and smaller than eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotes are usually a single-cell organism such as bacteria. In early study of E.coli,  scientists have found many biochemical reaction in this organism, and represent this organism as a model of biological system.

In bacteria like E. Coli,  the RNA protein complexes involved in protein synthesis or as known ribosomes are suspended in cytosol. in most of prokaryotic-celled organism are found that its plasma membrane is surrounded by a cell wall made of a rigid network of covalently linked carbohydrate and peptide chains.

In addition of having cell wall some bacteria possess an outer membrane consisting lipids, protein, and lipid linked to plysaccharides. Having a small size is advantages for prokaryotic cell , it higher ratio of surface area to volume which effect a simple diffusion. Simple diffusion is an process of distributing an adequate means of nutrients through out the cell.

  • Eukaryotic Cell

Eukaryotic cell posses a complex internal structure, it is so complex that it has a prominent nucleus inside. Eukaryotic cell can be found in plant, animal, fungi, and many unicellular organism. Most of eukaryotic cell is larger than prokaryotic cell it is commonly 1000-fold greater than prokaryotic in volume. Because of its size and complexicity thus a rapid transport and communication mechanism is needed both from inside of cell to and from external of cell medium.

Eukaryotic cell contain a membrane called organelles and cytoskeleton these membrane have their own function. Cytoskeleton has function in cell shape and the management of intracelullar traffic while organelles function often tied to cell physical properties.

Eukaryotic cell has certain part of it self. Some of them are :

  • Nucleus

The most defined part of cell is nucleus as known the criterion for characterization of an organism in this case eukaryote. The nucleus is structurecally defined by the nuclear envelope. Nuclear envelope is a membrane with two layers that join at protein-lined nuclear pores. The nucleus is the control center of cell, containing 95% of its DNA, even the transcription of DNA into RNA located in nucleus. RNA synthesis happened in nucleolus, not only the RNA synthesis nucleolus also the site of assembly of ribosomes from their subunit.

  • The Endoplasmic Reticulum and Golgi Apparatus

On the outer part of membrane of the nucleus there is endoplasmic reticulum. Endoplasmic reticulum is enclosed by aqueous region called lumen. The cell endoplasmic reticulum is coated with ribosomes. Ribosome has significant role as some protein emerge from it and bind to the endoplasmic reticulum thereby attaching the ribosome to membrane. As the process continues the protein is moving through the membrane to the lumen.

And as the end of process of protein synthesis it destined to remain in cytosol which occurs in ribosomes that are not bound to endoplasmic reticulum. Golgi apparatus is often found close to the endoplasmic reticulum, golgi apparatus is a complex a flattened, fluid-filled, membranous sacs.

  • Mitochondria and Chloroplasts

Both of this part have significant role in the energy transducer of cell. Mitochondria are the main sites of oxidative energy metabolism and are found nearly in all eukaryotic cells. Chloroplasts are the sites of photosynthesis in plants and algae. Mitochondria is enclosed by a double membrane which each called inner membrane and matrix. Matrix contain many enzymes involved in aerobic energy metabolism.

The chloroplast is surrounded also by a double membrane enclosing a highly folded internal membrane that forms a system of flattener sacs or as known thylakoid membrane. The thylakoid membrane contains chlorophyll and other pigments that involved in the capture of the sun light energy.

As we have discussed about cell, now we know that a living organism are complicated and highly organized, like an organism who consists of many cells. In turn, these cells posses sub cellular structure called organelles which are complex assemblies of very large polymeric molecules called macro molecules. Even, these macromolecules themselves shows a very complex organization in their three-dimensional architecture for example sugar and amino acids. This complex three-dimensional structure of macromolecule known as conformation. This conformation happened as a consequence of interaction between monometric units according to their individual chemical properties.

When we talk about molecular in biochemistry, it related with bio-molecule which is the elemental composition of living things. More than 99% of human body atom consist of Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen constitute with most of H and O occurring as H2O. All biomolecule contain carbon. Carbon has ability form as many as four such bond by sharing each other electron in its outer shell with electron contributed by other atoms.

The molecular constituent of living matter do not reflect randomly the infinite possibilities for combining C, H, O and atoms. Instead, only a limited set of many possibilities are found, and these collections share certain properties essential to the establishment and maintenance of the living state.

4. Metabolism

The word metabolism derives from the Greek for  “change.” Thus, metabolism means the sum or amount of the chemical change that convert nutrient, the raw material to nourish living organism, into energy and the chemically compiles finished product of cell.

The principles of modern biology noted that metabolism is similar to organisms. All form s of nutrition and almost all metabolic pathways evolved in early prokaryotes prior to the appearance of eukaryotes 1 billion years ago. For example glycolosis, the metabolic pathway by which energy is released from glucose and captured in the form of ATP under anaerobic conditions.

  • The Fields

Although, most cells have the same basic set of central metabolic pathway, different cells are characterized by the alternative pathways they might express. Classification based on carbon requirement defined two major groups that are autotrophs which are organism that can use carbon dioxide as their only source of carbon and heterotrophs who require an organic form of carbon such as glucose in order to synthesize other essential carbon compound that is human organism.

A further classification among organism is whether they can use oxygen as an electron acceptor in energy pathways. Organism who able to do this called aerobic organism, so the one who can not do this called anaerobes. Organism which O­is oligatory for their lives are called obligate aerobes, humans are obligate aerobics. For some organism who can adapt to anaerobic condition called facultative anaerobes such as E.coli.

There are two fundamental purposes of metabolism that are the generation drive vital function and the synthesis of biological molecules. In case of achieving these objectives metabolism primarily consist of two processes. Catabolism is a metabolism process that have characteristic of energy yielding, whereas anabolic pathways are energy requiring. Catabolism involves the oxidative degradation of complex nutrient molecules obtained. The breakdown of catabolism result a simples molecules such as lactic acid, ethanol, carbon dioxide, urea, and ammonia.

Anabolism is a synthetic process in which the varied and compiles bio-molecule such as protein, nucleic acid, lipid and polysaccharide are assembled from simpler precursor. This biosynthesis process involves the formation of new covalent bond, and an input of chemical energy needed to drive such endergonic process.

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5. Immunology

In 1908, a biologist from Russia Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov boosted the study of immunology by his work and priced by Nobel Prize in that year. Immunology is study about immune system of organism not limited only to human but organism in wider term.

Immunology have several branches as it focus of study they are clinical immunology which focus on study of diseases caused by disorder of immune system, there are:

  • Developmental Immunology

Developmental immunology which focus on one’s capability to react to given antigen based on person characteristic such as age, antigen type, and maternal factors.

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy as we guess this branch focus on using immune system to cure disease or disorder; diagnostic immunology is study using antigen and antibody to diagnose an existence of a substance in organism.

  • Cancer Immunology

Cancer immunology study the relationship between immune system and cancer; reproductive immunology study relationship of reproductivity with immune system.

6. Genetics

From the Watson and Crick model, it become clear that the DNA possesses a self-duplicating property and when cell divides. The daughter cell inherit the entire genetic information through a well-defined mechanism. However, variations among organisms are also found due to recombination that occur between DNA or chromosomes of two parent.

  • Genetic Fields

According to Mendelian Laws of heredity, various traits are controlled by several factors. These factors came to be known as Genes. Since 1950 there has been a phenomenal growth in molecullar biology, with the result the nature of gene can be stated in far more definite term.

Genes are made up of DNA. This is a linear and unbranched polymer of nucleotides. A gen in actual sense is a segment of DNA and may consist of thousand of base pairs. Genes function in specific manner is to produce enzymes which catalyze specific reaction this theory is known as ‘one gene-one enzym’, but some enzymes are composed more than one chain so, this theory changes into ‘one gene one polupeptide’ chain.

7. Enzymes

The study of enzymes began with the discovery of the use of microorganism in processing wine. Louise Pasteur was the first to demonstrate that yeast can ferment glucose without being used up to destroy later then this process called fermentation. Since that time until the latest discovery then the cell contain such chemical entities that could catalyze various chemical reaction in the cell called enzyme.

The true nature of enzyme established by James Sumner in 1926 by his discovery when he extracted and cryztalized an enzyme called urease from jack beans. From this experiment he determined that all enzymes without exception are protein with a three-dimensional structure.

Classes of Enzymes:

  • Oxidoreductases : This class concerned with the oxidation-reduction reaction in which one compound is oxidized and another is reduced.
  • Transfereas : This class catalyze the transfer of chemical groups such as alkyl,methyl, carboxyl, aminoacyl and many more.
  • Hydrolases : This class included hydrolatic enzymes that split C-O,C-N,C-C an other bond by addition of water.
  • Lyases : This class of enzym catalyze the removal of specific groups from their substactes and introduce double bonds.
  • Isomerases : This class is a group of enzymes that catalyze redistribution of chemical groups within a molecule and produce isomers, epimers, etc.
  • Ligases : These are also called synthases and catalyze he joining together of two molecules coupled with the break down of phospates bond in ATP or any nucleoside triphospates.

Meanwhile, the sub branches of biochemistry is important to learn in many fields to create new compounds. There are seven sub branches of biochemistry which are animal and plant biochemistry, immunology, genetic, immunology, and enzyemology that’s all play the key role in many applications.

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