Chemical methods for biotechnology

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with the basics of i) analytical chemistry ii) physical chemistry iii) mass spectrometry iv) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to make students autonomous for the study of processes and reactions of biological interest. The course, appropriately accompanied by practical laboratory exercises, is dedicated to the acquisition of skills related to the most common basic and instrumental analytical (electroanalytical, spectroscopic, chromatographic, NMR and mass) techniques.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student is able to:
- interpret analytical titration data (pHmetry, complexation, precipitation, redox);
- learn the principles and applications of conductivity, spectroscopy and chromatography, also in relation to laboratory experiences;
- learn the principles of thermodynamics and both theoretical and practical aspects of chemical kinetics;
- interpret spectra and identify the structure of simple organic compounds starting from corresponding 1H and 13C NMR and MS spectra
Course syllabus and organization

Unique edition

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Elements of Analytical Chemistry
Basic analytical principles. Preparation of standard solutions and exercises on preparation of solutions.
In-depth analysis of colorimetric titrations (acid-base, complexometric, precipitation, redox).
Exercises on the processing of titration data. Conductimetric electroanalytical techniques:
direct and indirect conductimetry. Spectroscopic techniques: UV-vis, fluorimetry, polarimetry, IR.
Chromatographic separation techniques: TLC, GC, HPLC. Potentiometric electroanalytical techniques: direct and indirect pH-metry.

Elements of Physical Chemistry
Fundamentals: Equation of state of perfect gases. Van der Waals' state equation for real gases Chemical thermodynamics: the first principle (conservation of energy). Internal energy and enthalpy. Second principle and entropy. Entropic changes in the system and in the environment. The spontaneous character of chemical reactions. Gibbs energy and its variation. The chemical potential. Chemical kinetics. Kinetic laws, rate constants (coefficients) and orders of reaction.
Methods for determining the kinetic law.
Zeroth, first, and second order reactions. The dependence of the reaction rate on temperature.
The Arrhenius equation.

Mass spectrometry and NMR
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR): resonance phenomenon, spectral parameters: chemical shift and coupling constants, mono-dimensional proton experiments, Overhauser's effect: theory, examples and applications.
Mass spectrometry: Instrumentation, ionization methods, main fragmentation reactions of organic compounds, examples and applications.

EXPERIMENTAL LABORATORY: the goal of the experimental laboratory is getting acquaintance with the preparation of solutions and the determination/resolution of appropriate mixtures through use of specific analytical techniques and collections of experimental (spectrophotometric, conductivity, pH) data, which are eventually diagrammed and processed on the basis of appropriate chemical-physical relationships.
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledge of the basic concepts of general, inorganic and organic chemistry, molecular structure, mathematics and numerical calculation.
Teaching methods
Lectures, excercises, practical exsercises in laboratory
Teaching Resources
S. P.J. Higson, Analytical Chemistry, Oxford University Press
- G. D. Christian, Analytical Chemistry, Wiley-VCH
- P.W. Atkins, Physical Chemistry

- Guida Pratica alla Interpretazione di Spettri NMR, Antonio Randazzo, Loghia, 2018
- Lecturers notes
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written: The exam will consist of a written final test with a maximum score of 30/30. The test will be divided into three parts, each made of one exercise and one theoretical question. Each part will be assessed up to a maximum of 10 points. In addition, the final score will take into account also the evaluation of the report concerning the practical experiences carried out in the laboratory.
The exam will last about two hours.
Any additional information on the assessment methods will be explained during the course.
CHIM/02 - PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 0
CHIM/06 - ORGANIC CHEMISTRY - University credits: 0
Practicals: 24 hours
Single bench laboratory practical: 24 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Educational website(s)
Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-11:30 or agreed via email.
Department of Chemistry, Ground Floor, Sector B, Room R11S
Friday from 11.30 to 13.30