Biochemistry 1 (Animals) - BSC103

Home Study Biochemistry Course

ACS student comment: "Having not finished high school myself and never studied biochemistry my confidence is a little low but the encouragement I am receiving from Honor [tutor] is a tremendous help and making it easier for me as I go. [The course] is helping me realize what I am actually capable of and that I am smarter than I thought. Thank you for making it possible for me to study my passion while still being able to work." Melissa Smith, Australia, Biochemistry 1 (Plants) course.
  • Study the foundations of biochemistry from home
  • Flexible, 100 hour course provides a great starting point for working in or studying health sciences, agriculture, veterinary or related disciplines and industries.

There are 10 lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to biochemistry
  2. Lipids and proteins
  3. Enzymes and hormones
  4. Nucleic acids
  5. Thermo-regulation
  6. Carbohydrate metabolism
  7. Absorption
  8. Acidity and alkalinity
  9. Chemical analysis
  10. Biochemical applications

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:

  • Identify characteristics of common chemical compounds important in animal and human biochemistry.
  • Explain the characteristics of major biochemical groups, including carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
  • Explain the characteristics of chemicals which control biological processes in animals and humans, including enzymes and hormones.
  • Explain the role of nucleic acids in the biology of animals and humans.
  • Explain the role of thermo-regulation in animals and humans.
  • Explain the role of carbohydrate metabolism in animals and humans.
  • Identify the characteristics of acidity and alkalinity in relation to animals and humans.
  • Develop simple chemical analysis skills relevant to testing animals.
  • Identify applications and uses for biochemical processes and products.

Here are just some of the things you may be doing:

  • Explain the formulae of ten specified chemical compounds commonly found in animals and humans
  • Calculate the percentages of elements contained in two specified chemical compounds
  • Differentiate between characteristics of major groups of biochemicals including:
    • carbohydrates
    • proteins
    • amino acids
    • lipids
    • nucleic acids
  • Identify differences between monosaccharides
  • Differentiate between plant and animal/human biochemistry, with three examples of biochemical processes unique to eachand polysaccharides
  • Differentiate between a fat and an oil
  • Explain the characteristics of a specified protein formula
  • Compare two fibrous proteins with two globular proteins
  • Explain the functions of carbohydrates in animals/humans
  • Explain two commercial applications for lipids in the learners chosen industry.
  • Explain two commercial applications for proteins in the learner’s industry
  • Explain two commercial applications for carbohydrates in the industry the learner’s industry
  • Distinguish between an enzyme and a hormone
  • Explain how one specific enzyme functions in an animal/human
  • Explain how one specific hormone functions in an animal/human
  • Explain the relevance of hormones to the learner’s chosen industry sector
  • Explain the relevance of enzymes to the learner’s chosen industry sector
  • Define relevant terminology, including:
    • nitrogenous base
    • double helix model
    • nucleotides
    • pentose sugars
  • Explain the importance of RNA in animals/humans, including:
    • location in cells
    • composition/structure
    • functions
  • Explain the importance of DNA in animals/humans, including:
    • location in cells
    • composition/structure
    • functions
  • Describe the biological and chemical differences between RNA and DNA
  • Explain the role of ATP in providing energy for various cellular activities
  • Define relevant terminology, including:
    • heat
    • metabolic rate
    • basal state
    • fever
    • heat stroke
    • hypothermia
  • Explain the mechanisms of body heat production in animals/humans
  • Describe the homeostatic processes which regulate body temperature
  • Explain the mechanisms of body heat loss in animals/humans
  • Define relevant terminology, including:
    • glycogenesis
    • lipogenesis
    • aerobic & anaerobic cellular respiration
    • kinases
    • carbohydrate loading
    • glucose anabolism
  • List the main biochemical processes involved in animal/human carbohydrate metabolism
  • Explain glycolysis, including the sequence of chemical reactions involved
  • Explain the Krebs cycle, including the sequence of chemical reactions involved
  • Explain the electron transport chain, including the sequence of chemical reactions involved
  • Explain differences in animal/human carbohydrate metabolism for a specified situation
  • Define relevant terminology, including:
    • absorptive state
    • post absorptive state
    • insulin
    • cortisol
    • epinephrine
  • Explain the processes occurring during the absorptive (fed) state, including:
    • biochemical reactions
    • hormonal regulation
    • sites of activity
  • Explain the processes occurring during the post absorptive (fasting) state, including:
    • biochemical reactions
    • hormonal regulation
    • sites of activity
  • Define relevant terminology, including: *acid *alkaline *neutral *pH scale
  • Describe three chemical buffering effects including:
    • bicarbonate buffering system
    • phosphate buffering system
    • protein buffering system
  • Explain the role of pH in the control of respiration
  • Explain the importance and methods of pH control of human blood
  • Identify factors involved in controlling acidity and alkalinity in a specific case study
  • Define relevant terminology, including:
    • calibration
    • electroconductivity
    • chromatography
    • colorimeter
    • indicators
  • Compare a chemical test kits (eg. indicator strips) with chemical meters (eg. haemoglobin meter), in terms of the following:
    • accuracy
    • ease of use
    • portability
    • maintenance
    • calibration
    • costs
  • Explain the practical applications of various analytical techniques in industry, including:
    • chromatography (TLC, GC)
    • colorimetry
    • atomic absorption
  • Determine the value of analytical techniques used in the learners industry sector, including:
    • efficiency
    • accuracy
    • ease of use
  • Differentiate between chemical toxicity and tolerance
  • Explain the implications of LD50 characteristics of five different chemical substances
  • Explain the implications of half-life characteristics of five different chemical substances
  • List the active toxins in ten poisonous plants or animals which commonly occur your locality
  • Explain the effects of two naturally occurring toxins on the human body
  • Explain the function and use of two different plants as medicines, for humans or animals
  • Determine three different applications for animal tissue culture

Duration:  100 hours


Extract from course:


Organic compounds are compounds that contain carbon. The four main types of organic compounds are carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids which we will look at in depth in subsequent lessons.

Biochemistry is the chemistry of organisms and organic compounds. An organism is anything that is alive, or if not, was once alive (a "dead" organism"). What, then, is the condition we call life? We cannot offer a rigid, precise definition, but we do know that living things are characterized by metabolism, growth, and reproduction. Metabolism is the process by which a body introduces into itself various energy‑rich materials from its environment (food or nutrients), and transforms these materials, with the release of energy, into other substances, some of which are retained by the body and some eliminated. Reproduction is the process by which one body produces another that is like itself in properties, structure, composition, and function, including metabolism and reproduction.

The distinction between an organism and a material is not always clear. A virus consists of particles that can reproduce themselves in a suitable environment but they do not ingest food, or grow, or carry on any other metabolic processes. Are viruses, then, living organisms, or are they chemical materials that consist of large molecules capable of replicating themselves under suitable conditions? To include viruses among the living, the definition of life must be modified. Most broadly, we may consider anything living if it can bring order out of disorder at the expense of energy and has the capability to preserve accidental variations (called mutations) that may occur in the process.

In an organism, the structure called the cell may be considered to be a biochemical reactor. An organism consists of one or more cells, and the various groups of cells in a multi cellular organism may be sharply differentiated in their biochemical function. The reactions in the cell are said to occur in vivo (Latin, "in the living organism"); the corresponding reactions outside of the cell are said to occur in vitro (Latin, "in glass). The living cell is not merely a tiny membranous beaker with homogeneous contents. It is, rather, entity of great complexity, not yet completely understood as to structure and function. There are specific sites within the cell at which specific reacting systems, metabolic or reproductive, operate. The biochemist seeks to identify these sites, and to illuminate the course and mechanism of the reactions that occur there. Sometimes he tries to remove a chemically reacting system from its cellular environment and duplicate it in vitro. He does this because reactions are usually easier to study under the more controllable conditions of laboratory reactors than they are in vivo.

Biochemical Process in the Cell

Several anatomical features are so small that they can be revealed only with the aid of an electron microscope. Some of these fine structures of the cell are non-essential inclusions, like blobs of fat, or particles of starch. Others called organelles, perform essential functions and are reproduced when the cell divides. Some of these functions are well known; others still elude us.

The mitochondria are oval shaped organelles. The highly differentiated structure of a mitochondrion contains some 40 enzymes, which control a complex series of reactions, including the conversion of diverse organic substances into ATP, which is the cellular energy source. The energy reservoir that is thus stored up is available for biomechanical work such as muscle contraction, for electrical work like the action of nerve impulses, and for the activation of other biochemical reactions. Mitochondria are essentially, the powerhouses of cells.

Chloroplasts are organelles that occur in plant cells and that contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the catalyst for the endothermic process of photosynthesis, in which glucose is synthesized from carbon dioxide.

The nucleus is a well defined structure which contains the genetic material of the cell; the nucleus thus is the site of the reproductive function. Each time a cell divides, it reconstitutes itself. The ability of self duplication is retained by the new cells and is transmitted repeatedly through successive generations of cells. The reliability of this transmittal accounts for the continuity of species.


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