BMB532: Fundamental Biochemistry

Study Board of Science

Teaching language: Danish or English depending on the teacher
EKA: N200000112, N200000102
Assessment: Second examiner: None, Second examiner: External
Grading: Pass/Fail, 7-point grading scale
Offered in: Odense
Offered in: Autumn
Level: Bachelor

STADS ID (UVA): N200000101
ECTS value: 10

Date of Approval: 20-04-2018

Duration: 1 semester

Version: Archive


01012901 (former UVA) is identical with this course description. 

Entry requirements

The course cannot be chosen by students having passed BMB502 and BMB503.

Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to:

  • Have knowledge of basic mathematics and physics that include logarithms and exponential functions, linear algebra, first order differential equations, and basic physical variables (e.g.pressure, force, temperature, etc).

  • Have knowledge in basic chemistry, including chemical reactions, association constants, pH, ionic strength, solution theory.

  • Have knowledge of basic biological chemistry (incl. structures of biological molecules (nucleic acids, proteins, lipids), the organization of cells and subcellular organelles, structures of biological membranes, glycolysis, cellular respiration).

  • Be able to use basic chemistry laboratory equipment (pipettes, other volumetric material).

Course introduction

The aim of the course is:

  1. to give the student a thorough introduction and basic skills in the kinetic and thermodynamic principles that underlie metabolic pathways and their regulation and

  2. to present to the student the metabolic pathways and their regulation.

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in the courses FF502 and FF503, and gives an academic basis for studying the topics biophysics and bioimaging, metabolic and hormonal regulation, prokaryote and eukaryote metabolism, bioanalytical techniques that are part of the degree.

In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to:

  • Give the competence to study processes that involve enzymes, biological membranes and to study metabolism

  • Give skills to use spectrophotometry and oxymetry

  • Give knowledge and understanding of membranes and enzymes and their integration into metabolism

Expected learning outcome

The learning objectives of the course is that the student demonstrates the ability to:

  • use theoretical and practical methods from chemical kinetics and enzyme kinetics to determine characteristic constants such as zero, first and second order rate constants and KM values and turnover numbers (kcat) for enzymes

  • use the theory of chemical kinetics and enzyme kinetics to set up rate expressions for uncatalyzed and catalysed chemical reactions

  • employ classical thermodynamics on biological problems

  • explain how the activities of enzymes are regulated, including allosteric effects and the effect of pH

  • explain different models to interpret  the structure of biological membranes.

  • explain the thermodynamics of transport of molecules and ions across biological membranes (Fick law of diffusion; passive and active transport)

  • identify the chemical components of biological membranes and describe the chemical structure of lipids. 

  • describe the thermodynamical aspects of lipid self-aggregation in aqueous solutions 

  • identify different membranous structures (lipid polymorphism) and use thermodynamics principles (second law) to explain membrane phase transitions.

  • explain phase diagrams for lipid mixtures (Gibbs phase rule and lever rule)

  • describe experimental techniques to study enzymes and membranes, including spectrophotometry, spectrofluorometry and differential scanning calorimetry.

  • explain the reaction mechanisms of a few selected enzyme catalyzed processes

  • describe the binding of ligands to membrane receptors

  • describe the thermodynamic and kinetic foundation of metabolism and explain the importance of free energy and equilibrium constants in the coupling of biochemical reactions and the role of ATP in this coupling

  • describe the transport of glucose and lipids in the blood and how they are taken up by cells

  • describe metabolites, enzymes and coenzymes from glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the citric acid cycle, glyoxylate cycle and the principles for regulation and integration of these pathways

  • describe the light reactions and the mechanism of CO2 fixation in photosynthesis

  • describe the pentose phosphate pathway and its general regulation in terms of metabolites, enzymes and coenzymes

  • describe fatty acid metabolism and its regulation in terms of metabolites, enzymes and coenzymes

  • describe the action of the hormones insulin, glucagon and epinephrine on metabolism of brain, muscles, liver and adipose tissue

  • describe the mechanism underlying the hormonal influence on the blood’s content of glucose and fatty acids


The following main topics are contained in the course:

  • Thermodynamics, including the first and second law of thermodynamics with emphasis on entropy

  • Experimental techniques in biochemistry and biophysics, including spectrophotometry and fluorescence spectroscopy/microscopy

  • Elementary chemical kinetics

  • Simple Michaelis-Menten kinetics

  • Two substrate reactions

  • Cooperativity and allostery

  • Regulation of enzyme activity

  • Examples of enzyme reaction mechanisms

  • Model for biological membranes

  • Chemical composition of biological membranes

  • Chemical structures of lipid molecules

  • Membrane polymorphism and lipid mixture’s phase diagrams 

  • Diffusion of compounds through lipid membranes

  • Active and passive membrane transport

  • Ion channels

  • Membrane receptors

  • Metabolism: basic terms and principles

  • Glycolysis and gluconeogenesis

  • Citric acid cycle

  • Oxidative phosphorylation

  • Glycogen metabolism

  • Lipid metabolism, including fatty acid synthesis and degradation

  • Photosynthesis: light reactions and CO2 fixation

  • Integration of metabolism


  • L. Folke Olsen: Enzyme kinetics, Provided via Blackboard.
  • Daniel Wüstner: Notes, Provided via Blackboard.
  • David L. Nelson and Michael M. Cox: LEHNINGER: PRINCIPLES OF BIOCHEMISTRY, 7th edition, 2017 W. H. Freeman and Company.

See Blackboard for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

Examination regulations

Prerequisites for participating in the exam a)


Autumn - further info on prerequisite is given via Blackboard.


Lab. work and reports




Second examiner: None




Full name and SDU username


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

To be announced during the course

ECTS value


Additional information

Participation in all laboratory exercises and submission of reports for all laboratory exercises. Students must comply with the submission deadline (one week) and must pass all reports in order for the exam. Further information regarding deadlines and, possible re-handind is published via Blackboard.

The prerequisite examination is a prerequisite for participation in exam element a)

Exam element a)




Type Prerequisite name Prerequisite course
Examination part Prerequisites for participating in the exam a) N200000101, BMB532: Fundamental Biochemistry


Written exam




Second examiner: External


7-point grading scale


Student Identification Card


Normally, the same as teaching language

Examination aids

Not allowed, a closer description of the exam rules will be posted under 'Course Information' on Blackboard.

ECTS value


Additional information

The examination form for re-examination may be different from the exam form at the regular exam.

Indicative number of lessons

96 hours per semester

Teaching Method

The teaching method is based on three phase model.
Intro phase: 54 hours
Skills training phase: 42 hours, hereof:
  • Tutorials: 26 hours
  • Laboratory exercises: 16 hours

Educational activities 
  • Independent study of textbooks
  • Written homework and lab report
  • Independent follow-up on the intro and study phases
  • Preparation for laboratory work
  • Preparation for exam

Teacher responsible

Name E-mail Department
Christer Ejsing

Additional teachers

Name E-mail Department City
Birte Vester
Daniel Wüstner
Lars Folke Olsen


Administrative Unit

Biokemi og Molekylær Biologi

Offered in


Recommended course of study

Profile Education Semester Offer period