Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.
A sub-discipline of both biology and chemistry, biochemistry can be divided into three fields; structural biology, enzymology and metabolism. Over the last decades of the 20th century, biochemistry has become successful at explaining living processes through these three disciplines. Almost all areas of the life sciences are being uncovered and developed by biochemical methodology and research. Biochemistry focuses on understanding the chemical basis which allows biological molecules to give rise to the processes that occur within living cells and between cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of tissues and organs, as well as organism structure and function.
Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms of biological phenomena.
Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions, and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids, which provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life. The chemistry of the cell also depends on the reactions of smaller molecules and ions. These can be inorganic (for example, water and metal ions) or organic (for example, the amino acids, which are used to synthesize proteins). The mechanisms by which cells harness energy from their environment via chemical reactions are known as metabolism. The findings of biochemistry are applied primarily in medicine, nutrition and agriculture. In medicine, biochemists investigate the causes and cures of diseases. In nutrition, they study how to maintain health and wellness and study the effects of nutritional deficiencies. In agriculture, biochemists investigate soil and fertilizers. They also try to discover ways to improve crop cultivation, crop storage, and pest control.