The 7 Most Important Applications Of Biochemistry

Biochemical tests

The applications of biochemistry are registered mainly in medicine, industry and agriculture, although they have spread to many areas thanks to the advancement of technology.

Biochemistry is responsible for studying the chemical composition of living beings. It focuses primarily on proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.

His interest is in the processes in which these compounds participate. These include metabolism, catabolism (the process of obtaining energy) and anabolism (the generation of its own biomolecules).

It is believed that the first observations on chemical reactions were obtained with the fermentation of bread and wine, but it was only until the 19th century that chemical reactions and biological changes in living things began to be studied.

Through phenomena such as chemical isometry, Louis Pasteur perceived the similarity that existed between the tartaric acid molecules typical of living beings and those that were synthesized in a laboratory.

After this discovery, biochemistry developed and reached its splendor towards the second half of the 19th century. In 1919 the engineer Karl Ereki called this new science biochemistry.

Main  applications  of biochemistry

1- Medicine

Clinical diagnoses are possible thanks to biochemistry. The study of biomolecules and metabolism in humans have made it possible to establish the causes of numerous diseases.

Through the observation of microorganisms it is possible to understand the molecular bases of a disease and determine the best treatment.   

Biochemistry allows us to know all the chemical processes that take place in the body in terms of the formation of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, among others.

Furthermore, thanks to biochemistry it has been possible to carry out the design of organisms for the production of antibiotics, the development of vaccines, molecular diagnostics and regenerative therapies.

With the development of genetic engineering, it is possible to predict and cure diseases, mainly of the endocrine type, by identifying the lack or excess of hormones.

The development of medicine is unthinkable without biochemistry because this science is the one that studies chemical and biological changes in living beings and, therefore, the transition from a state of disease to a state of health.

2- In industrial processes

Biochemistry has allowed the design of microorganisms for the manufacture of chemicals and the use of enzymes as industrial catalysts.

Microorganisms can be manipulated to develop important chemicals and also allow the destruction of chemical contaminants.

3- Marine and aquatic environments

Coral reef, Tucacas, Venezuela

In the oceans, seas and rivers there are numerous ecosystems. To protect them, it is necessary to know the conditions in which life occurs and that guarantee their permanence over time.

The organizations of the world that work for the protection of these ecosystems include in their functional structure the area of ​​biochemistry.

They monitor and evaluate the components of the aquatic system permanently, to know the chemical and biological changes, and their possible causes and effects.

4- Food and body temperature

Cows, heterotrophic organisms

Daily feeding is a matter of biochemistry. Good health with the optimal level of nutrition must take into account the chemical needs of the body.

Gaining or losing weight, maintaining blood sugar control, and balancing good and bad cholesterol are actions that require knowledge of the body’s chemistry. 

Body temperature also reflects biochemical processes; living things require an average temperature to survive.

The discoveries on biochemistry allowed us to know this health indicator and understand the possible causes in order to restore the well-being of an organism.

5- Agriculture

In agriculture the contributions of biochemistry are essential for the production of insecticides and fertilizers.

The studies of chemical and biological reactions allow us to know the conditions of the soil, prepare the best seeds and use the best fertilizers to obtain quality food and with the appropriate nutrients.

In the same way, these agricultural inputs are produced with their biodegradation in mind to protect the environment.

Rural development includes in its first phase the efficient use of the soil, and for this it requires knowledge of its physical and chemical characteristics, which include the chemical and biological reactions studied by biochemistry.

6- Food quality

Biochemistry has allowed the cultivation of food, enhancing its properties.

Thanks to this, the best proteins are extracted from corn, in beans its roots are strengthened, in tubers proteins and starch are enhanced, in avocado proteins and fats are enhanced, and in fruits it is identified how to improve the pulp fiber.

7- Mining

Peruvian mining. Source: Juan Segura del Campo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In mining, various applications have been achieved from biochemistry. Metals such as copper, uranium, cobalt, gold and silver support biotechnology processes for their extraction.

In addition, advances in biochemistry allow designs for the transformation of metals by microorganisms.

This application is mainly found in the degradation of chemical or biological wastes, which become environmental pollutants and which have been knowingly or accidentally discharged into the environment.

The possibility of implanting these biochemical techniques in the industrial field is currently being studied, with the treatment of other minerals.

References

  1. Ramos A., (2001) The future of gene biochemistry techniques and their applications. In vitro veritas, 2, art. 10. University of Catalonia.
  2. Andersen, CA (1967). An introduction to the electron probe microanalyzer and its application to biochemistry. Methods of Biochemical Analysis, Volume 15, 147-270.
  3. Cameron, AT, & Gilmour, CR (1935). Biochemistry Of Medicine. J. And A. Churchill; London.
  4. Březina, M., & Zuman, P. (1958). Polarography in medicine, biochemistry, and pharmacy. Interscience publishers.
  5. Nelson, DL, Lehninger, AL, & Cox, MM (2008). Lehninger principles of biochemistry. Macmillan.

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