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Biochemistry

Originally a subdivision of chemistry but now an independent science, biochemistry includes all aspects of chemistry that apply to living organisms. Thus, photochemistry is directly involved with photosynthesis and physical chemistry with osmosis... two phenomena that underlie all plant and animal life. Other important chemical mechanisms that apply directly to living organisms are catalysis, which takes place in biochemical systems by the agency of enzymes; nucleic acid and protein constitution and behaviour, which is known to control the mechanism of genetics; colloid chemistry, which deals in part with the nature of cell walls, muscles, collagen, etc; acid-base relations, involved in the pH of body fluids; and such nutritional components as amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, lipids and vitamins, all of which are essential to life. The chemical organisation and reproductive behaviour of microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) and a large part of agricultural chemistry are also included in biochemistry. Particularly active areas of biochemistry are nucleic acids, cell surfaces (membranes), enzymology, peptide hormones, molecular biology, and recombinant DNA.

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