Chemistry of Life

Living tissues are ultimately made of chemical building blocks. Thus, in the study of anatomy and physiology, some understanding of chemistry is necessary.

Antoine Lavoisier

Antoine Lavoisier – Father of Modern Chemistry

Chemistry deals with the study of the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. It deals with the properties of atoms, how atoms form chemical bonds to create chemical compounds, interactions of substances through intermolecular forces that give matter its general properties, and the interactions between substances through chemical reactions to form different substances.

Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. It deals with the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids. These molecules form the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.

Topics in this Section

AtomsMoleculesCompounds
Atomic structureIonization potentialAtomic number
Atomic weightElectrolytesMolecular weight
Molar concentrationAcids, bases and pHThe pH scale
pH values of the body fluidsBuffersAcidosis and alkalosis
Important biological moleculesCarbohydratesAmino acids and proteins
LipidsNucleotidesNucleic acids
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)Ribonucleic acid (RNA)Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
EnzymesMovement of substances within the bodyDiffusion
OsmosisBody fluidsExtracellular fluid
Intracellular fluid