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About Chemistry for Biologists

Chemistry for Biologists resources aim to help you understand the chemistry and chemical principles that underlie a good deal of biology. These resources were hosted on the Chemistry for Biologists website, which launched in 2004 and was supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Biochemical Society. From 2019 Chemistry for Biologists resources are hosted on the Royal Society of Biology website.

Using the resources

The resources are aimed at post-16 students taking biology (or related subjects) to A level, Scottish Higher or similar level. These will also be of use to first year undergraduates studying biology. The resources assume you have studied some chemistry (either a separate subject or as part of a balanced science course to GCSE level or equivalent). The material is organised into 17 topics, which can be approached in any order, although it might be a good idea to tackle Some basic chemistry first. Each chapter has a short multiple choice test accompanying it that you can take at any time. You can use these tests in a number of ways:

  1. Before tackling each chapter to help you decide whether or not you need to work through the chapter or not.

  2. After studying a chapter to check your understanding; or
  3. Before and after studying a chapter to see how much you have improved

Most chapters include:

  • Text
  • Diagrams
  • Links to other websites

Viewing 3-D models

The resources originally presented 3-D rotatable structures, these are no longer supported, but we suggested that you explore http://molview.org/ instead. Just be wary of the many different isomers you will find, make sure you follow the biologically relevant examples. The rotatable molecules are important because a great deal of biochemistry depends on the three-dimensional shapes of molecules - how substrates fit the active sites of enzymes, how drug molecules fit receptors in cells, for example.

Downloadable resources

Topic Material Test Answers
Some basic chemistry Read Take test Check answers
Inorganic ions Read Take test Check answers
Water and living organisms Read Take test Check answers
Carbohydrates Read Take test Check answers
Lipids Read Take test Check answers
Proteins Read Take test Check answers
Enzymes Read Take test Check answers
Nucleic acids Read Take test Check answers
In and out of cells Read Take test Check answers
Metabolism and energy Read Take test Check answers
Energy flow Read Take test Check answers
Gas exchange Read Take test Check answers
Transport of oxygen in the blood Read Take test Check answers
Respiration Read Take test Check answers
Photosynthesis Read Take test Check answers
Excretion and the liver Read Take test Check answers
Nerves and hormones Read Take test Check answers

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