Every branch of science, including biochemistry, is interesting and captivating. However, some students and even adults don’t find biochemistry as engaging as it actually is. And the main reason for this is that they don’t really understand how biochemistry works, why it’s so important, and how biochemistry is used in everyday life.
Biochemistry is widely used on a daily basis in different industries and aspects of life. Whether we’re talking about medicine and agriculture or cleaning and cooking at home, biochemistry plays a key role in understanding countless concepts used in everyday life.
To better understand the importance and uses of biochemistry in our everyday lives, the article will provide general information about biochemistry and the branches of biochemistry. You’ll also find the top 10 most common applications of biochemistry in everyday life.
What Is Biochemistry?
Before we list the common uses of biochemistry in everyday life, let’s explain what biochemistry is all about. As the term suggests, biochemistry is a combination of biology and chemistry and, therefore, it’s sometimes referred to as biological chemistry.
Biochemistry studies the chemical reactions and processes occurring in or related to different living organisms, including humans, animals, insects, plants, fungi, and bacteria.
While biochemistry is a laboratory-based science that has numerous applications in medicine, pharmacology, toxicology, agriculture, food science, and clinical chemistry, biochemical principles are also widely used in everyday life.
What Are the Branches of Biochemistry?
Biochemistry has several branches, each dealing with specific aspects of the chemistry of living organisms. Understanding what the branches of biochemistry are and how they work is key to determining how biochemistry can be used in everyday life.
The main branches of biochemistry are molecular biochemistry, cellular biochemistry, animal biochemistry, plant biochemistry, immunology, enzymology, metabolic biochemistry, and genetics.
Here’s what you need to know about different biochemistry branches.
Molecular biochemistry is a branch of biochemistry that investigates the chemical processes occurring in living organisms at the molecular level. Typically, molecular biochemistry deals with macromolecules and focuses on studying their structures and functions.
Some of the biological compounds explored by molecular biochemists are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. The knowledge of these biological macromolecules allows molecular biochemists to explore viruses, enzymes, membranes, and many more.
Cellular biochemistry studies the chemical processes that take place in biological cells. Cellular biochemistry also covers the interactions between different cells. Exploring these processes is mainly done by understanding the structures and functions of biomolecules and different biochemical mechanisms.
Some of the main topics covered in cellular biochemistry are metabolic pathways, regulation of gene expression, regulation of protein activities, cell division, differentiation, cellular signaling, intracellular trafficking, and organellar interactions.
Animal biochemistry focuses on studying chemical reactions taking place specifically in animals. In fact, animal biochemistry provides a better understanding of veterinary science and animal husbandry, allowing scientists to rear, breed, and raise animals.
Besides, animal biochemistry is pretty much essential for developing veterinary medicine, a branch of medicine that studies the ways to prevent, diagnose, manage, and treat various diseases and injuries in animals.
Plant biochemistry is the study of chemical processes specific to autotrophs, the organisms that can produce their own food using light, water, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals. One of the most common plant-specific biochemical processes is photosynthesis, a process during which plants create oxygen and chemical energy in the form of ATP molecules.
Plant biochemistry not only allows us to understand how autotrophs work but also helps us find solutions to a myriad of agricultural and pharmaceutical problems.
Immunology is one of the most critical branches of the medical and biological sciences. Immunology deals with the immune system of living organisms and is key to understanding what a properly functioning immune system should look like.
Studying immunology is key to understanding how the immune system protects living organisms from infections, diseases, and allergies. Besides, immunology is also crucial for either preventing these health conditions or treating them accordingly.
Enzymes are proteins that serve as biological catalysts to accelerate chemical reactions occurring in living organisms. On the other hand, enzymology is a branch of biochemistry that studies how enzymes work in general.
As a matter of fact, enzymology is crucial for understanding how enzymes catalyze chemical reactions and how the catalysis of these reactions can be regulated.
Metabolism is a set of biochemical reactions through which living organisms transform food and drinks into energy. Metabolic biochemistry is the study of metabolism and provides detailed information about the metabolic pathway and different energy transfer mechanisms.
Some of the common topics covered by metabolic biochemistry are glycolysis, glycogen metabolism, gluconeogenesis, the Krebs cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. By exploring different catabolic and anabolic pathways, metabolic biochemistry provides a better understanding of how living organisms work.
Last but not least, genetics is another branch of biochemistry that mainly focuses on studying genes and heredity in living organisms. Along with explaining how traits are passed from one generation to the next, genetics provides a better understanding of why genetic disorders occur and how to deal with them.
Studying genetics is important to understand and identify various genetic factors and disorders while promoting human health and disease prevention.
Applications of Biochemistry in Everyday Life
Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary field of science and, therefore, has a broad range of applications and uses in daily life.
Biochemistry is used in everyday life to diagnose and treat clinical conditions. Biochemistry also allows scientists to improve crop yield and quality in agriculture. In addition, biochemistry is used to improve and optimize fertilizers and pesticides. Biochemistry also provides knowledge about our metabolism and processes linked with our daily physical activity. Besides, biochemistry helps us understand and enhance human nutrition. Last but not least, biochemistry allows us to protect our environment by making reasonable day-to-day choices.
Here are the top 10 applications of biochemistry in everyday life.
Biochemistry Is Used to Diagnose the Clinical Conditions of Patients
The knowledge of biochemistry is fundamental to diagnosing various clinical conditions. The diagnostic process involves several steps, including a clinical history interview, a physical exam, and performing one or more diagnostic tests.
Diagnostic clinical biochemistry is a specific branch of biochemistry that focuses on studying theoretical and practical techniques to diagnose human diseases and monitor their progress. Without biochemistry, it would be pretty much impossible to diagnose and detect different diseases and pathologies.
Biochemistry Is Used for Treating Medical Conditions
Along with helping with diagnosing different health conditions, biochemistry plays a key role in the treatment of various diseases. This is mainly because understanding the biochemical processes occurring within living organisms is crucial for identifying suitable treatment plans, including the use of medication and therapies.
Whenever doctors propose a treatment plan, they consider different biological, chemical, and biochemical aspects of the human body. Therefore, biochemistry is used by healthcare professionals on a daily basis to offer patients effective and safe treatment options.
Biochemistry Is Used to Improve Fertilizers and Pesticides
Biochemistry is also widely used in the agricultural sector. By combining the knowledge of the chemicals used in agriculture and the nature of living organisms, biochemists can improve the quality of fertilizers and pesticides. Besides, biochemistry is an important tool for optimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, ensuring that they are utilized both safely and effectively.
In addition to improving chemical fertilizers, biochemistry provides further knowledge about biofertilizers, fertilizers that contain living microorganisms.
Biochemistry Is Used for Improving Crop Yield and Quality in Agriculture
While improving the composition and optimizing the uses of fertilizers and pesticides, biochemistry can help us increase crop yield and quality. Since fertilizers promote plant growth, they can significantly increase yield when selected and used properly.
Besides, biochemistry is one of the branches of science that enables us to understand soil composition along with providing further information about plant diseases. So overall, biochemistry is involved in the process of crop cultivation. Read more about how biochemistry is used to improve crop cultivation.
Biochemistry Is Used to Understand How Our Metabolism Works
Metabolism is the sum of all chemical processes that occur in living organisms and provide the energy we need for survival. Along with converting food into energy, metabolism fuels pretty much everything our body does, including food digestion, breathing, moving around, blood circulation, nutrient intake, and more. Here’s why metabolism is so important.
Since biochemistry studies the metabolic pathway with all the reactions and reaction mechanisms, it’s pretty much essential for understanding the processes that take place within our cells. Without the biochemistry of metabolism, we wouldn’t be able to identify how the food we eat every day is converted into energy.
Biochemistry Principles Are Widely Used in the Food and Beverage Industry
Believe it or not, biochemistry is involved in the food and beverage industry. From food processing to quality control, food biochemistry enables us to make safe, delicious, and nutrient-rich foods.
Besides, biochemistry is involved in the production of fermented foods and beverages. These include pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, natto, miso, yogurt, wine, beer, kombucha, and more. Read more about 10 reasons why fermentation is important.
Biochemical Processes Are Linked with Our Daily Physical Activity
While you may not even notice this, every single process occurring in our bodies is a biochemical reaction. More importantly, these biochemical processes provide the energy we need for basic or more complex physical activities.
Whether we’re talking about blood circulation and breathing or walking and working out at a gym, biochemical reactions transform the food we eat into the energy our body needs to perform different actions. ATP molecules are the sources of energy and the energy is released when the phosphate group is removed through hydrolysis.
Biochemistry Plays a Crucial Role in Forensic Investigation
Forensic investigation involves gathering and analyzing the physical evidence from a crime scene. To reach a conclusion, professionals largely rely on scientific methods, including chromatography, spectroscopy, body fluid analysis, blood tests, hair and fiber analysis, and serology.
Forensic biochemistry is important in analyzing biological information related to a crime scene. Without the knowledge of biochemistry, it would be impossible to solve crimes by examining DNA evidence or performing blood tests. Read more about the applications of forensic biochemistry.
Biochemistry Is Key to Understanding Human Nutrition
Undoubtedly, we need energy to fuel each and every physical and mental activity. And this energy can be obtained through proper nutrition. Biochemistry helps us understand how human nutrition works and provides further information about the essential nutrients in food that are absolutely crucial for humans to function properly.
Therefore, the concepts of nutritional biochemistry are widely used in everyday life when people make choices about what type of food to eat and what to remove from their diet.
Biochemistry Allows Us to Protect Our Environment on a Daily Basis
Last but not least, the knowledge of biochemistry is a critical tool that helps us protect our planet. This can be done by understanding the choices we make in our everyday lives.
By applying the principles of environmental biochemistry to our daily choices and exploring the chemical and biochemical processes taking place in nature, we can actually protect our environment.