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Question Video: Recalling the Branch of Chemistry That Studies the Chemical Processes within Living Organisms Chemistry

Which branch of chemistry is primarily interested in the study of chemical processes within, and related to, living organisms?

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Video Transcript

Which branch of chemistry is primarily interested in the study of chemical processes within, and related to, living organisms? (A) Electrochemistry, (B) quantum chemistry, (C) analytical chemistry, (D) biochemistry, or (E) environmental chemistry.

Chemistry is the study of matter and what it consists of, its properties, its uses, how it changes and reacts with other substances, and the conditions under which those changes occur. The field of chemistry can be broken down into different branches of study or specializations. To answer the question, we need to identify which branch of chemistry is primarily interested in the study of chemical processes within, and related to, living organisms. Let’s take a closer look at each of the five branches of chemistry listed in the question.

Electrochemistry is the study of chemical processes that cause electrons to move. The movement of electrons is also known as electricity. Scientists can use this knowledge of electricity for a variety of applications, such as creating batteries or fuel cells, electroplating metals on one another, or creating chemicals like chlorine. As electrochemistry is not a branch of chemistry primarily interested in living organisms, we can eliminate answer choice (A).

Quantum chemistry is a branch of chemistry focused on the application of quantum mechanics to chemical systems. This field relies heavily on complex calculations and imaging methods to understand the electronic structure and dynamics of atoms and molecules. Quantum chemistry is not primarily interested in the study of chemical processes in living organisms. Thus, answer choice (B) is not the answer to this question.

Analytical chemistry is a branch that uses experimental techniques to identify, separate, or quantify matter and its properties. These techniques are often used to test things like water, food, and pharmaceuticals for safety, research, and other applications. This field often creates new experimental analytical techniques that are used in other branches of chemistry. So, while analytical chemistry may be used to help us understand the chemical processes within living organisms, that is not the primary focus of this branch of chemistry. Therefore, answer choice (C) is not the answer to this question.

Biochemistry, as the name implies, is a subdiscipline of both chemistry and biology. Biochemistry is the study of chemical reactions that occur within and are related to biological or living systems. Biochemists study the reactions of various molecules in the body, like proteins, DNA, carbohydrates, and lipids, to create new medicines and cures for diseases. They also study the chemistry of other living organisms like plants to create new biofuels, foods, and biodegradable plastics. As biochemistry is primarily interested in the study of the chemical processes within and relating to living organisms, answer choice (D) is likely the answer to this question. But just to be sure, let’s take a look at answer choice (E).

Environmental chemistry is the study of chemical species in the air, soil, and water environments and the effect human and biological activity has on them. Environmental chemists help to assess any long-term effects of contaminants in the soil and ground water both to human health and the health of the ecosystem. Environmental chemistry is closely related with analytical chemistry and biochemistry. But this branch of chemistry is not primarily interested in the chemical processes within living organisms. Thus, answer choice (E) is not the answer to this question.

After evaluating each of the branches of chemistry, we have determined that the branch that is primarily interested in the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms is biochemistry, answer choice (D).

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