PCC-12803 General Chemistry for the Life Sciences


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical intensively supervised20
Course coordinator(s)dr. CW Hoogendam
Lecturer(s)dr. CW Hoogendam
drs. FAJG Geurts, MSc
dr. ir. JT Knuiman
dr. RJ de Vries
Examiner(s)dr. CW Hoogendam
drs. FAJG Geurts, MSc

Language of instruction:



Living organisms have a remarkable capacity to regulate physiologically the inner environment. Electrolyte levels, pH-levels, chemical and redox potentials are all kept within certain limits to ensure internal stability. Several organs including the liver, the kidneys, and the nervous and endocrine systems help maintain homeostasis by triggering biochemical and physico-chemical mechanisms. In this course physico-chemical mechanisms involved in homeostasis are treated. These mechanisms include energy exchange, gas exchange, various types of equilibrium, buffer systems, ATP-coupling, redox and diffusion potentials, and osmosis and are interpreted from the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Several physico-chemical aspects of transport, storage, synthesis and breakdown of substances and cellular components such as membranes are treated as well.

Learning outcomes:

At the end of the course the student is able to:
- interpret processes in living organisms from a consideration of thermodynamic laws;
- relate Gibbs energy to the equilibrium constant of a physico-chemical process;
- calculate the ATP-requirement for a particular process;
- calculate the pH and buffer capacity of a system;
- calculate redox and diffusion potentials;
- calculate osmotic pressure;
- handle physical and chemical units and dimensions;
- recognize physico-chemical concepts in relation to transport, storage, synthesis and breakdown of substances and cellular components;
- carry out experiments in the domain of general and physical chemistry following a given protocol and report on these experiments.


Participate in lectures, tutorials and practicals, and self-study.


Written exam with multiple-choice questions. The final mark can be assessed only after completing all practical experiments.


To be filled in later.

Compulsory for: BBIBiologyBSc1AF
BASAnimal SciencesBSc1MO
BPWPlant SciencesBSc1AF
BATBiosystems EngineeringBSc1MO
BVGNutrition and HealthBSc1AF