Biochemistry is a field of biology that studies the chemical reactions within living organisms. Life can be reduced down to thousands of chemical reactions that continuously occur to keep an organism alive. Biochemistry studies the very important chemical pathways that have allowed for life to live and evolve to the incredible diversity we now have on Earth.
All life is built from four groups of molecules referred to as the ‘molecules of life‘. These include proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids. These four molecule group make up the vast majority of living tissue and are involved in vital processes such as respiration and photosynthesis.
Proteins are the building blocks of life and are the most common molecule found in cells. They are hugely diverse and important. Proteins include compounds such as hormones, enzymes and antibodies.
A carbohydrate is either a sugar or the combination of multiple sugars. They are vital for life on Earth and perform a range of functions such as providing energy, structural support and cellular communication.
Lipids are a group of molecules that include fats, oils and some steroids. They are built from molecules called ‘fatty acids’ and can be bonded to a wide range of other compounds. Almost all lipids are insoluble in water.
Photosynthesis is arguably the most important set of chemical reactions in terms of the evolution of life on Earth. Photosynthesis is a process which uses energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide into sugars and oxygen.
Respiration is a process that occurs in cells. Through respiration, cells converts the energy of glucose and other molecules into cellular energy. Cells are then able to use this energy to perform functions such as build proteins, replicate DNA and breakdown wastes.