Chemistry and basic biochemistry

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with the basics of chemistry that make it possible to understand the behavior of the compounds involved in the main biological processes and the knowledge necessary to understand the quantitative aspects involved, with particular reference to some topics preparatory to subsequent courses, such as the structures and chemical properties of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, nucleotides and nucleic acids.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will have acquired the awareness that most biological macroscopic phenomena consist of chemical transformations.
He will know the principles that are the basis of the behavior of elements and compounds that participate in major biological processes or with which they interact.
He will be able to perform simple calculations that illustrate the quantitative aspects of models of the main chemical processes involved in biological phenomena.
He will recognize the chemical principles that govern the methodologies suitable for the study of substances of biomedical interest.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/22 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The course syllabus includes the following topics:
Matter: pure substances (elements and compounds), mixtures (homogeneous and heterogeneous). Atoms, electrons, protons and neutrons. Atomic number, mass number, isotopes. Molecules and molecular formulas. Atomic and molecular masses. Mole and molar mass.
Quantization of energy. Uncertainty principle. Wave-particle duality. Atomic models. Quantum numbers and atomic orbitals. Electron configurations of the ground state.
Periodic table of chemical elements. Groups, periods, blocks. Periodic properties of elements (ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity). Metals, non-metals, noble gases.
Ionic bond, ionic compounds, lattice energy in ionic solids. Covalent bond. Multiple and single bonds. Lewis structures. Resonance. Bond energy and bond length. Polar covalent bond, molecular dipole. Hybridization and hybrid orbitals. Molecular orbitals (σ and π). Metallic bonding. Oxidation number.
Weak chemical bonds: between molecules (van der Waals forces), between ions and molecules, solvation energy, hydrogen bonding.
Real and ideal gases, the ideal gas law.
Liquids. Surface tension. Vapor pressure. Crystalline and amorphous solids. Crystal types (ionic, covalent, molecular, metallic). Phase diagram for water. Triple point.
Solutions. Concentration of solutions (molarity, molality, mole fraction, percentage). Solubility. Effect of temperature on solubility. Effect of pressure on solubility of gases (Henry's law).
Colligative properties of solutions. Boiling point elevation and freezing point depression. Osmotic pressure.
Chemical reactions and balanced equations. Chemical equilibrium and equilibrium constant. Factors that affect the chemical equilibrium. Le-Chatelier's principle.
Electrochemistry. Balancing redox reactions. The standard reduction potentials. Standard hydrogen electrode. Nernst equation. Galvanic cells.
Acids and bases. Arrhenius and Bronsted concepts of acids and bases. Conjugate acid-base pairs. Strengths of acids and bases. Leveling effect of solvent. Self ionization equilibrium and ion-product constant of water. pH concept. Acid and basic ionization constants (Ka and Kb). Relationships between Ka and Kb for conjugate acid-base pairs. Buffer solutions: concept, properties, reactions.
pH calculation of aqueous solutions of acids and bases (strong and weak) and of acidic or basic ions. pH calculation of buffer solutions. Experimental determination of pH using acid-base indicators or by pHmeters.
Lewis definitions of acids and bases. Coordination compounds, nomenclature, constant instability.
Chemical thermodynamics. Thermodynamic systems. Standard conditions. State functions. Heat and work. First law of thermodynamics. Enthalpy. Standard molar enthalpy of formation. Enthalpy change in reactions. Exothermic and endothermic reactions.
Factors affecting the reaction's spontaneity. Entropy. Second and third law of thermodynamics. Standard molar entropy. Entropy change in reactions. Free energy and standard molar free energy of formation. Calculation of G in non-standard conditions. Relationship between G° and equilibrium constant. Coupled reactions.
Chemical kinetics. Reaction rates. Rate law and order of reaction. Integrated kinetic equations for first-order and zero-order reactions. Half-life. Activation energy and Arrhenius equation. Collision theory and transition state theory. Catalysts. Enzyme kinetics. Michaelis-Menten equation.
Introduction to organic chemistry. Functional groups and classification of organic compounds. Ionic and radical reactions. IUPAC rules for naming organic compounds.
Nomenclature, chemical properties and characteristic reactions of following classes of compounds: saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cyclic, aromatic), alcohols, phenols, ethers, sulfur analogues (thioalcohols, thiophenols, thioethers, disulfides).
Aldehydes and ketones, nomenclature, properties, reactivity, tautomerism.
Carboxylic acids and fatty acids, nomenclature, properties, reactivity, soaps and their amphiphilic properties. Carboxylic acid derivatives (halides, anhydrides, esters, thioesters, amides), properties, acid hydrolysis and basic hydrolysis (saponification).
Amines, nomenclature, properties, tetraalkylammonium salts. Simple bifunctional compounds, classification, nomenclature.
Isomerism. Classification of various types of isomerism: constitutional (of chain, of position, of function) and stereoisomerism (conformational, configurational, geometric isomerism).
Chirality of the molecules (nomenclature D and L or R and S to identify stereogenic centers). Optical activity of the stereoisomers. Racemic and meso forms.
Lipids. Simple lipids (acylglycerols and waxes) and complex lipids (sphingolipids and glyceropholipids). Acid and basic hydrolysis of lipids.
Carbohydrates. Monosaccharides, cyclic forms, epimers and anomers. Glycosides, reducing and non-reducing disaccharides (maltose, lactose, cellobiose, sucrose), homopolysaccharides (starch, glycogen, cellulose, chitin).
Amino acids. Definition and classification, isoionic point, isoelectric point. Predominant forms at physiological pH.
Peptides and proteins, classification, peptide bond and its characteristics. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. Denaturation.
Nucleosides and nucleotides. Structure of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).
Polymers. Classification, crystalline and amorphous regions, glass transition temperature and crystalline melting temperature. Thermoplastic and thermosetting polymer, elastomers. Addition polymerization (radical, ionic) and condensation polymerization. Polymers of dental interest (polysulphides, silicones, polyethers, acrylic resins, composite resins).
Prerequisites for admission
No particular preliminary knowledge are required, as the teaching is structured to be usable by students who have never previously learned chemistry topics
Teaching methods
The course will use frontal lessons and slides that will be made available on the Ariel platform of the unimi website
Teaching Resources
Recommended reference text: Chimica di base per le scienze della vita, 2° Edition. Authors: Mario Anastasia e Luigi Anastasia. Publisher: Antonio Delfino
Assessment methods and Criteria
The assessment method is a written test with a duration of 90 minutes and consists of 10 open-ended questions, five concerning general chemistry topics and five topics in organic chemistry and in propaedeutic to biochemistry.
In the evaluation, to every single answer is given a score from 0 to 3 and the sum of the points assigned to the answers represents the vote expressed in thirtieths.
The oral part is essentially the discussion with the student of the evaluation given to the answer to every single question of the written test.
On the Ariel platform of the unimi website, with the slides used in teaching, an example of a written test will be available
BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Allevi Pietro
Educational website(s)
by e-mail appointment
via Saldini 50