Environmental Biochemistry


This discipline is directed to students who wish to initiate studies in Environmental Biochemistry through various approaches and concepts based on existing knowledge of biochemistry, cell biology and toxicology. In this discipline it is intended that students acquire the fundamentals of environmental biochemistry, including the f biochemical processes in the biosphere, environmental toxicology, the effects of toxic substances in organisms, metabolism of toxic substances, among others. But also to deepen some more recent information particularly in the area of human and environmental toxicology. Students must obtain knowledge on toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics of xenobiotics. Thy must understand the main approaches and experimental design in environmental biochemistry studies. The toxicity mechanisms will be discussed as well as the processes of absorption, distribution and excretion. Emphasis will be given to the toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic of xenobiotics and to biotransformation processes and ecotoxicology. Students will be familiar with the concepto of toxicological risks. Case studies on the various applications will be used to explain the general and specific concepts of environmental biochemistry. Through seminars prepared and presented by students, it is intended that students deepen specific parts of the course. The course will allow students to develop work in diverse areas related with environmental biochemistry.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Mário Emanuel Campos de Sousa Diniz


Weekly - 2

Total - 29

Teaching language



This dicipline can not be attended by first year students

Students that attended Nutritional Biochemistry or Chemo-informatics can not attend this discipline


asarett and Doull´s Toxicology, The Basic Science of Poisons, Sixt Edition. Int. Ed, McGraw-Hill, NY 2001.

Hodgson, Ernest. A textbook of modern toxicology / Ernest Hodgson.—4th ed. 2010. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey

Manham SE. Toxicological chemistry and biochemistry / by Stanley E. Manahan.-- 3rd ed. CRC- Lewish Press, Boca raton, Florida. 2003

Environmental Biochemistry, Volume 3. Neelima Rajvaidya, Dilip Kumar Markandey. APH Publishing, 2005, 435pp.

Environmental Chemistry: Fundamentals. Springer Science & Business Media, 2007, 334 pp.

Environmental Biochemistry. Sanju Kumari, Random Pub., 2012, 304pp.

Teaching method

Lectures/theoretical-pratical  (02:00, 14 weeks), with the help of slides in Powerpoint; the talks are part of the teaching programme and the discussion of problems case studies within the focus of the discipline.

Evaluation method

I. General Conditions of participation, frequency and evaluation of UC

 1. The UC of Biochemistry includes:

- theoretical lessons (2 hours per week);

2. The evaluation process includes evaluation of the theoretical part of the curricular unit (UC).

II. Obtaining frequency

3. The frequency of the practical part of the UC consists in the laboratory work and in its previous preparation and also in the elaboration of the respective questionnaires by each group of up to 4 students.

III. Evaluation of the theoretical parts of the UC 

3. Ongoing evaluation of the UC consists in the execution of two tests and presentation of a seminar under the theme of the discipline. The presentation group must have up to 4 elements.

4. The tests are held in March and June of the semester and include separate parts of matter.  In each test, the theoretical component contributes with 80% to the total grade. The remaining 20% correspond to the group seminar presentation. For approval, the classification in the first test cannot be less than 6 values and the average rating of the tests will have to be equal to or greater than 9.5.

 5. The exam includes all matter and keeps the percentages of 80% (theoretical component) and 20% (seminar component), such as in the tests. For approval, the classification in this exam must be equal to or greater than 9.5.


 14. The students with approval on the ongoing evaluation (tests) may improve the grade in the exam. To do so, they should follow the current regulations.

Subject matter

I. EnvironmentalBiochemistry
1. Introduction toenvironmentalbiochemistry
1.1.Relationship between biochemistryandthe environment
1.2.Biochemistry andenvironmentalchemistry
1.3.EnvironmentalBiochemistry andbiology

IIBiochemical Processesin the Biosphere
2.1.biogeochemical cycles
2.2.Interrelationships betweenbiogeochemical cycles
2.3.The pollutantsin the biosphere
2.3.1.Conceptof pollutants andtoxic substances
2.3.2Effects of pollutantsin the biosphere:biodegradabilitytoxicity andrisk
2.3.3Risk assessmentin HumanHealth

IIIBiochemical processesand metabolism
3.Metabolismof toxic substances
3.1.Mechanisms(oxidationhydrolysis, reductionandconjugation)
3.2.Influence ofenzyme action
3.3.Thelevel of DNAdamage
3.4.Toxicology andeffects ofwater, soil and atmospheric pollutantsin organisms

IVBiochemistry andToxicity
4.1.Exposure to toxic substances
4.2.Routes of entryandactionin living organisms
4.3.Absorption, distribution and excretion
4.4.Biotransformationof toxic substances


Programs where the course is taught: