Biochemistry, as you may already guess, is a mixture of Biology and Chemistry concepts. More specifically, Biochemistry deals with the chemical phenomena that are related to any living organism. Primarily, it is a laboratory-based science that incorporates techniques developed in Chemistry as well as in Biology and might also correlate with several other minor disciplines. Therefore, the most straightforward term to define Biochemistry is the “chemistry of life.”
But why is Biochemistry so essential?
First of all, the fact that it incorporates so many branches of Chemistry, including but not limited to General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Analytical Chemistry, makes the science already important. Second of all, since Biochemistry also connects these branches of Chemistry with sub-divisions of Biology, the science becomes even more critical.
Nowadays, Biochemistry can be considered as the most influential area of science. Evidently, the broad application of Biochemistry is directly linked with the importance of science in many different areas which will be discussed in greater detail throughout the article. To better highlight the importance of Biochemistry, the article will provide 10 major reasons why science is of considerable significance and has a profound effect on the development of the entire world.
1. Biochemistry Incorporates Chemistry and Biology
One of the major reasons why Biochemistry is so essential is that it comprises concepts of two crucial fields of science: Chemistry and Biology. Thus, it implements and combines various techniques and methodologies that merge the two areas mentioned earlier.
Chemistry is a subject that studies a matter along with its properties, but there is nothing alive in the discipline. Even if it is quite an essential field of science, it cannot explain the properties that arise in the case of a living organism.
On the other hand, Biology is a discipline that examines structural hierarchy, starting from atoms and molecules to cells, tissues, and organs. Biology, similarly to Chemistry, is also a very essential field of science that studies the components of a living organism. Even though, Biology on its own would fail to thoroughly explain the processes that are going on in every organism.
As you may already know, there are elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur) that make up 98% of a living matter on our planet. Chemistry will definitely help us to study the characteristics and properties of the individual elements, but what happens after these atoms interact with each other to form or break bonds? In case if the atoms stay bonded with each other, various types of biological molecules arise (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids).
If the atoms mentioned above interact with each other, it is obvious that the biological molecules that are formed also interact with each other. There are lots of reactions occurring in a living organism that involves the reactions between the biological molecules. Along with that, a wide variety of chemical reactions takes place within a cell to keep a living organism alive.
Consequently, we can state that Biochemistry represents the building blocks of life on our planet.
2. Biochemistry as a Significant Contributor to Medical Science
Medical science comprises a diverse variety of subjects that try to identify how the human organism and body work. Generally, the discipline is divided into sub-areas of specialization, including but not limited to the following: Physiology, Pathology, Anatomy, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Immunology, Neurology, and Nuclear Medicine.
In order for an individual to continue educational studies in the medical profession of interest, it is of enormous importance to have a particular knowledge of how the body functions. To accurately diagnose the patients and understand the effects of various diseases on normal body functions, it is vital to have a strong educational background in Chemistry, Biology, and Biochemistry along with the branches of these disciplines.
Without an understanding of Biochemistry, scientists would never be able to create and produce effective drugs or implement therapies for patient treatment. Moreover, Biochemistry has been directly linked to the identification of various health conditions including diabetes, rickets, sickle cell anemia, dental fluorosis, lysosomal storage diseases, atherosclerosis, kidney dysfunction, etc.
Due to the significant contributions that Biochemistry makes to Medical Science, it can be stated that the discipline plays an essential role in the development and advancement of Medicine. It would not have been possible to implement drugs or cure people without a thorough understanding of Biochemical principles.
3. Importance of Biochemistry in Genetics
Genetics is simply the study of heredity, a biological process through which both biological parents pass the particular set of genes onto their offspring. In order to fully understand the functioning and operation of genetic molecules, it is a huge importance to have an in-depth knowledge of various Biochemical structures, functions, and processes occurring in a living organism. Since the sequence of amino acids in proteins and the structure of the protein itself are essential characteristics of genetic material, Biochemistry is directly involved in the understanding of genetics. For that reason, molecular genetics has been identified as a sub-discipline of Biochemistry.
4. Importance of Biochemistry in Cellular Respiration
Cellular respiration combines various metabolic reactions and processes that occur in the cells of a particular organism. The primary purpose of cellular respiration is to generate adenosine triphosphate (abbreviated as ATP) through the conversion of biochemical energy from a wide variety of nutrients to ATP.
At first glance, the reactions occurring in a specific organism to convert nutrients to ATP might seem like simple chemical reactions between different species. But this is not the case. The set of metabolic reactions, also referred to as a metabolic pathway, represents the way the organism responds to the intake of different nutrients (sugars, amino acids, fatty acids).
Therefore, metabolomics is a branch of Biochemistry that deals with metabolic reactions and processes the study of which is essential for the detection and cure of various metabolic disorders. Since metabolism is one of the processes that take place in our organisms on a daily bases, the study of Biochemistry is critical to identify the proper functioning of a being.
5. Importance of Biochemistry in Cell Signaling
Cell signaling refers to a communication process that regulates the basic activities of cells in a living organism. The signals that different cells transduce are biochemical molecules such as proteins and lipids. Another way to produce a signal involves ions or gases. One of the common biochemical signals are hormones that are released by the cells or glands to send the message.
Biochemistry helps scientists understand how an organism would react to any change in cellular composition. Biochemistry is also important to study the pathway from signal transduction to its response.
6. Importance of Biochemistry in Agriculture
Agriculture incorporates the cultivation of the soil, growth of crops, and raising the livestock. Considering the fact that agriculture involves various animals and plants, Biochemistry plays an immense role in the proper development and enhancement of the field.
In the case of livestock, Animal Biochemistry is the field that is responsible for the explanation of various chemical reactions that take place in the body of an animal. Along with that, Biochemistry deals with the examination of the structure and function of animal cellular components such as proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. The study of Biochemistry related to animals contributes to not only research and veterinary education but also to health issues and various disease pathways.
On the other hand, Biochemistry is also involved in plant production since plants are essential to agricultural as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, plants are considered as raw materials for the production of agricultural materials and pharmaceutical drugs. For that reason, the application of Biochemical techniques is vital for proper processing and production of materials that have massive impact on the health of living organisms.
7. Importance of Biochemistry in Food Science
The science that studies the physical, biological, and chemical properties of food along with food processing is referred to as Food Science. Food processing involves several stages, including selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and most importantly, the use of safe food. Therefore, the identification of the linkage between Biochemistry and Food Science is essential.
Biochemistry deals with the explanation of the chemical changes occurring in different types of food. More specifically, it examines the biochemical transformations occurring within the plants, meat, or fish. Such alterations are directly connected to chemical reactions taking place in foods.
One of the most prominent examples of the involvement of Biochemistry in food production is genetic modification. A genetically modified organism, also referred to as GMOs, is an organism the DNA of which has been modified employing genetic engineering. These bioengineered foods are produced to develop new traits. The identification of GMO food as good or bad is a whole other topic, but it is obvious that without the understanding of Biochemistry, it would have never been possible to achieve this.
8. Importance of Biochemistry in Forensic Science
Forensic science, also referred to as criminalistics, involves the application of science to civil or criminal laws to investigate criminal cases. Some of the forensic science investigations involve the materials that are better understood through the utilization of biochemical concepts and methodologies. Therefore, any investigation that involves Biochemistry is referred to as Forensic Biochemistry.
Forensic Biochemistry is a very important tool to investigate a crime using proper techniques and methods. It generally involves the examination of evidence from a crime scene implementing Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Genetics. Usually, the investigation requires the study of body fluids via separation or optical methodology. Along with that, DNA testing is one of the common methods involved in the investigation process to differentiate humans and animals or identify the relations between humans. Another important aspect that of Forensic Biochemistry is tracing the origin of a particular species using the combination of chemical and biochemical techniques.
Evidently, any crime scene that involves biological evidence (blood, hair, microbes, body fluids, etc.) requires the understanding of Forensic Biochemistry. For that reason, Biochemistry plays an important role in successful criminal or civil law investigations.
9. Importance of Biochemistry in Research and Development
Biochemistry is considered as one of the most important areas of research that yield far-reaching discoveries. Combining the core concepts of various disciplines (primarily Chemistry and Biology), Biochemistry plays an essential role in the development of groundbreaking scientific methods and approaches.
Biochemical research is directly linked with the development of drugs, therapies, and methodologies that might cure the diseases that are not remediable nowadays. Considering the fact that this leads to the enhancement of the quality of life, it can be stated that Biochemistry plays a vital role in scientific research.
10. Biochemistry is in Our Everyday Lives
Biochemical techniques advance our perspective of viewing the chemical characteristics and processes that occur in any living organism on a daily bases. Biochemical concepts are implemented in various daily tasks such as cooking which might involve denaturation or break down of biological compounds. Preparation of pastry as well as dairy products, beer or wine also involve biochemical processes such as fermentation.
Biochemistry is in our everyday lives! The changes in mood are also linked to biochemical processes such as hormonal changes in the body. Furthermore, every nutrient that we intake is processed through the metabolic pathway that is also studied through Biochemistry. The result of working out, the pain and soreness in joints is also due to the biochemical changes in an organism. Biochemical processes are continuous and take place in every living organism, even if you are lying in your bed and do not move at all.
Biochemistry is a scientific field that comprises a wide variety of applications of Chemistry and Biology. More importantly, it contributes to diverse disciplines starting from Medical Science to Agriculture and Forensic Science. The importance of Biochemistry is critical in understanding the processes occurring in each and every living organism.