Everyday biochemistry

The impact of biochemistry has been observed particularly in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. However, biochemistry plays a fundamental role in daily life, affecting different aspects of society, from retail, food, cosmetics and fashion to healthcare.

Biochemistry has participated in the development of many products and processes used on a daily basis. These include the discovery and improvement of medical products, cleaning products and recombinant DNA technology that can be used to make important molecules such as insulin and food additives.

Biochemical and binocular knowledge has also contributed to the quality and quantity of food production through improved agrochemicals, the development of crops with increased resistance to pests and diseases, and the preparation of foods that improve human health, including pre- and pro-biotics and antioxidants. .

Biochemistry can be considered to contain several branches. These include Enzymeology; Endocrinology; Molecular biology; molecular genetics and genetic engineering; Immunology; structural biochemistry; Neurochemistry; and cell biology. Each of these disciplines concerns a different component of biochemistry.

Increasingly, the global food system is under strain, with an increase in the prevalence of polarized obesity and poverty, and an increased reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides, poor quality food, the degradation environment and loss of biodiversity. Thus, many practices are revised and regenerated. These practices are informed by biochemistry.

Biochemistry is used to improve plant growth, yield and quality through the optimization of fertilizer components. Crop improvement was also enhanced through increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, alongside increased nutritional value.

With knowledge of the mechanism of action of fertilizers, such as nitrates, fertilizer use can be optimized to improve the quality of plant growth. An example of this is the increasing use of biochemical fertilizers including nitrogen fixers, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur solubilizers and various fungi such as mycorrhiza and Trichoderma, as well as small molecular iron chelators called siderophores produced by microbes.

It is believed to enhance the effect of heavy use of chemical fertilizers, which cause water contamination, nutrient depletion and soul deterioration.

Biochemistry plays an important role in nutrition and health and is considered a powerful and unsustainable tool for improving health, reducing poverty and hunger in the world. Through the use of sustainable biochemistry, the commercialization of biochemical techniques is seen as a powerful way to reduce global poverty and hunger and improve nutritional intake across the globe.

Biochemistry in agriculture. Image Credit: PopTika/Shutterstock.com

The most notable way that biochemistry has affected nutrition is through the improvement of crops using several biochemical-based techniques. Since 1996, genetically modified crop varieties have been developed through the introduction of genes or genetic elements with desirable functions.

Despite concerns, genome editing tools have recently emerged as a new form of technology and have been used successfully to modify crop genomes without evidence of the use of introducing foreign genes into a variety of plants. ‘species. Although they have only been used relatively recently, they have significantly improved crop yield and quality.

Characteristics of crop improvement include better nutritional and functional quality, especially for staple crops that meet high demand, such as corn, wheat, potato, and rice. For example, 20% of the world’s population – more than a billion people – depend on growing rice as a source of energy. Gene technology has been used to improve, for example, the glutinosity of rice varieties. A high-amylose, low-viscosity rice variety was produced by knocking out SBEIIb, a starch branching enzyme gene, using CRISPR/Cas9.

To circumvent the problem caused by cold storage of potatoes during transport, TALEN technology was used to suppress a gene encoding vacuolar invertase, which catalyzes the breakdown of sucrose into glucose and fructose. This prevents buildup of reducing sugars that cause high levels of a potentially carcinogenic compound, acrylamide, produced when they react with free amino acids during cooking.

Biochemistry is also applied in the context of food contamination, with biochemistry helping to determine detailed food chemistry. Related to this, biochemistry is essential in nutritional value testing, which can define the percentage or concentrations of nutrients in various types of food consumed. Moreover, with a complex understanding of the macromolecular, vitamin and mineral content of foods, foods can be used strategically to improve the quality of life. For example, knowledge of the effects of high amounts of sugar and fat allows doctors and nutritionists to advise patients on their dietary choices.

rice production

Rice production. Image Credit: pran/Shutterstock.com

Biochemistry is used in biotechnology applications in the textile industry. Enzymes are commonly used to bleach and wash textiles and to alter the property of clothing, such as changing the appearance of denim or preventing fiber types, such as wool and cotton, from shrinking. Increasingly, microbial involvement in the fashion industry has begun to take hold, avoiding the use of traditional chemical processes which are associated with high levels of pollution.

Spider silk, for example, is known for its strong flexible and lightweight properties; however, it has not been possible to cultivate spider silk on an industrial scale in the past. However, using fermentation bioreactors, genetically engineered bacteria can be used to produce this in large quantities. Thanks to the knowledge of the material properties of silk at the molecular level, this allows significant control over the final product compared to traditional materials. In addition, this use of technology addresses the problem of sustainability because silk is produced in the absence of animal or petroleum material.

spider silk

Spider silk. Image Credit: Pablesku/Shutterstock.com

In fact, biochemical approaches have the potential to impact climate change, which is increasingly recognized as a great challenge facing society worldwide. Biochemical knowledge has been used to identify solutions such as algal biofuels, carbon sequestration and more efficient industrial processes, which can help protect the environment and improve economic opportunities.

Biochemical research can also be used to understand basic biological processes as well as complex and elegant mechanisms for harnessing energy and converting it into a usable form. By understanding these processes, the development of advanced biotechnology products has been achieved, which enables the production of new types of bioenergy such as biochemical photovoltaics.

Through the identification of natural products resulting from biochemical reactions, products have been developed that improve human health. This research was fundamental and gave the public a better understanding of the importance of good nutrition and disease.

This article discusses some examples of biochemistry in everyday life. Biochemistry continues to address challenges facing society around the world, improving and influencing certain aspects of our lives.

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