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 - 68

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 practical Lab sessions.

Classroom lessons (with problem-solving) and laboratory (experimental work to be carried out by students, organized in groups). Moodle platform will be used to improve the interaction with students (discussion forums, presentation of videos and other materials, preparation of laboratory classes, and assessment of knowledge).

Available on the CU Web page (Clip and Moodle):

Lectures contents of Powerpoint presentations.

Experimental protocols.

Handouts with problems to solve.

Texts and relevant scientific articles.

Evaluation method


All students with "Frequência" (attendance at 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 classification of the 3 Tests cannot be less than 9.5 values ​​to pass 

- Each test also includes questions about practical laboratory work

b) Final Examination / Appeal

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


Final grade - students attending practical classes this semester:

The evaluation will also include the 4 questionnaires delivered at the end of each practical class, with a weight of 15% for the final grade, and mini-tests for auto-evaluation with 10% weight for the final grade, which will be calculated by the following formula:

Final grade = 0.75 x (average of the 3 tests or exam) + 0.15 x (average of the 4 questionnaires delivered in Moodle) + 0.10 x (mini-tests)

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: