Inorganic Biochemistry

Academic year
Subject Area
Área Científica do Menor
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, Biochemistry of Proteins, Nucleic Acids and Lipids.

Teaching Methods

The topics lectured are presented and discussed with the students in theoretical classes (T) using available informatic equipment. The active intervention of the students is encouraged. In parallel, work sessions (TP) also take place, using computers, specific programs and internet links, in order to: discuss in much detail subjects presented in theoreticals; apply the concepts and knowledge of Bioinorganic Chemistry to understand recent and interesting subjects which attract student’s attention; clarify some points and questions presented by the students.

Learning Outcomes

The general goal of thisCurricular Unit is the study of basic concepts of the coordination chemistry of metal ions and the correlation between their structure and biological role n the different organisms. Thus it is expected that the students: a) know and apply biochemical nomenclature; b)know the structure and reactivity of biomoleules; c) know the biological chemistry of the elements and the inorganic chemistry of life, which means to know the interaction of the metal ions with biological systems and understand the structure-function relationship for essential and toxic elements as well as those used in therapy and diagnostic.

Work Placement(s)



 1. Overview of the inorganic elements, their presence in biological systems, interaction with most relevant biological molecules and respective function “in vivo” 2. Principles of Coordination Chemistry related with Bioinorganic Chemistry: geometric and electronic structure of metal ions in Biology. Coordination compounds: nomenclature, geometry, isomerism. Transition metal ions: d orbitals; theories of the coordination bond; interpretation of spectroscopic and magnetic properties. Thermodynamic and kinetic stability. Reactivity of metal centers. 3. Bio-distribution and chemical speciation of inorganic elements. Selection and uptake of metal ions by biological systems. Transport, utilization and storage. Homeostasis of elements in organisms - beneficial and toxic effects. 4. Presence of metal inos in biological systems, chemical environment/ structure. Structure-in vivo function relationship for: essential, toxic and those used (brief reference) in therapy and diagnostic.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria Margarida Catalão Almiro e Castro

Assessment Methods

Mini Tests: 40.0%
Exam: 60.0%

Mini Tests: 20.0%
Exam: 80.0%


S.J .Lippard and J.M. Berg (1994) Principles of Bioinorganic Chemistry, University Science Books, Mill Valley, Califórnia.


W. Kaim and B. Schwederski (1994) Bioinorganic Chemistry: Inorganic Elements in the Chemistry of Life, Wiley, Chichester, U.K.


D. E. Fenton (1995), Biocoordination Chemistry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.


J.A. Cowan (1997) Inorganic Biochemistry, Wiley-VCH, New York.


W. Kaim (2005) Bioinorganic Chemistry, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.