The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to the core concepts of relevance in the fields of biochemistry and biotechnology. This is done in two phases; the first is an introduction to the main classes of biomolecules within the cell, with a special emphasis on how the structure of these molecules determines their biological function, and the second is an examination of the major catabolic pathways, and how they are integrated into the overall metabolism of the cell.

Teaching Periods
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date
Semester 1
Start and end dates
Last self-enrolment date
Census date
Last withdraw without fail date
Results released date

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  • Describe the properties of biomolecules and predict the behaviour of such molecules from their structure
  • Name and write structures for representative molecules of the major classes of biochemical
  • Interpret kinetic data and make predictions based on a simple model of enzyme kinetics
  • Design and interpret protocols for biochemical assays
  • Record, analyse and interpret data in the laboratory
  • Communicate the results of experimental work
  • Determine amounts and volumes in appropriate units from dilutions, unit conversions etc

Teaching methods


Type Hours per week Number of weeks Total (number of hours)
3.00 12 weeks 36
2.00 12 weeks 24
Unspecified Activities
Independent Learning
7.50 12 weeks 90


Type Task Weighting ULO's
ExaminationIndividual 25 - 35% 1,2,3 
Laboratory ReportIndividual 25 - 35% 4,5,6,7 
QuizzesIndividual 5 - 15% 1,2,3 
TestIndividual 25 - 35% 1,2,3 


As the minimum requirements of assessment to pass a unit and meet all ULOs to a minimum standard, an undergraduate student must have achieved:

(i) Achieve an aggregate mark of 50% or more, and(ii) Achieve at least 40% on the final exam, and(iii) Complete a minimum fraction of 80% of laboratory work based on the criteria for successful completion as explained in the lab handout(s).Students who do not successfully achieve hurdle requirements (ii) and/or (iii) will receive a maximum of 45% as the total mark for the unit.


  • Structure, chemical properties and function of the main classes of biomolecules including monosaccharides, polysaccharides, amino acids, peptides and proteins, fatty acids, triacylglycerols and related lipids, nucleotides and nucleic acids
  • Protein architecture and its relationship to protein function
  • Enzyme kinetics, reaction mechanisms, methods for enzyme assay and analysis, inhibition of enzyme activity
  • Principles of bioenergetics, strategies of metabolism, types of metabolic reactions
  • Reactions of glycogenolysis, glycolysis, citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation
  • Practical program to support the above theory including spectrophotometry, quantitative and qualitative analysis of metabolites and proteins.
  • Safety in the laboratory

Study resources

Reading materials

A list of reading materials and/or required textbooks will be available in the Unit Outline on Canvas.