Chemistry of Life


To supply the bases to an adequate understanding of the importance of chemistry in the life phenomenon.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria dos Anjos Lopes de Macedo


Weekly - 4

Total - 64

Teaching language



There are no previous request


- J.J.R Fraústo da Silva e José Armando L. da Silva, Os elementos Químicos e a Vida, IST-UL, 2011

- Ana M. V. Cavaleiro “Química Inorgânica Básica”, 2004, 3ª edição, Universidade de Aveiro

- Raymond Chang and Kenneth A. Goldsby, “Chemistry”, 2012, McGraw-Hill, N.Y., 11ª edição

- Patricia C. Wilkins, Ralph G. Wilkins “Inorganic Chemistry in Biology”, Oxford Chemistry Primers, 2002, 2ª edição, Oxford University Press

 - J. J. R. Fraústo da Silva, R. J. P. Williams “The biological chemistry of the elements: the inorganic chemistry of life”, 2001, 2ª edição, Oxford University Press

- Introdução à Química da Vida, Caderno de Apoio, J.J.G.Moura e N.L.Palma, ed. Universidade Aberta, 1995, Lisboa

- Anjos L. Macedo, Power Points apresentados nas aulas

Teaching method

Lectures, Problem-solving sessions and Labs.

Assistance the specific seminaries.


Available in the courses Web page:

Lectures contents of Powerpoint presentation.

Experimental protocols.

Handouts with problems to solve.

Photocopies of parts of textbooks and of relevant journal articles.

Evaluation method


All students with "Frequencia" (participation in practical classes and delivery of questionnaires, with success) will have two opportunities (marked a) and b)) to carry out the evaluation of the theoretical and practical components:

a) Tests; During the semester there will be 3 mandatory tests

- model to be specified at the beginning of the semester (see UC planning pdf)

- The average of the 3 Tests cannot be less than 9.5 values ​​to pass the discipline

- Each test also includes questions about practical laboratory work

b) Final Examination / Appeal

Template to be specified (also includes questions about the Practical classes).

This year and due to the new containment rules, the exam will be online, using the Moodle platform, with simultaneous connection by Zoom during the assessment.

Final grade

- students attending practical classes this semester:

By students'' suggestion, it was agreed that the final result of the evaluation will include the 4 questionnaires of the practical classes, with a weight of 10% for the final grade by the following formula:

Final grade = 0.9x (average of the 3 tests or exam) + 0.1x (average of the 4 questionnaires delivered in Moodle)

Subject matter

1. Chemical Elements and Life

2. Selection of Chemical Elements

3. Functions of Chemical Elements in Biological Systems

4. Essentiality and Toxicity of Chemical Elements

5. Biological Macromolecules

6. Enzymes and Metals; catalytic centres

7. Understanding Bioinorganic Chemistry

7.1. Coordination compounds

7.2. Stability of coordination compounds

7.3. Chemical Bonding: valence bond theory and crystal field theory. Magnetism and color.

7.4. Oxidation-Reduction Reactions: equilibria, redox potential, Nernst equation. Latimer and Frost diagrams.

7.5. Metals in biological systems; Metals in Medicine


Practical Component:

- Iron Quantification in ferritin; Peroxidase Enzymatic activity; Stoichiometry of Coordination compounds; Colorimetric study of redox reactions


Programs where the course is taught: