PCC-12803 General Chemistry for the Life Sciences


Studiepunten 3.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. CW Hoogendam
dr. LH Beun
Lecturer(s)dr. LH Beun
dr. ir. HA Heering
dr. RJ de Vries
L Michels
dr. CW Hoogendam
MF Schrage
R Spruijt
J Tauber
Examiner(s)dr. CW Hoogendam

Language of instruction:

NL and/or EN

Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

Chemistry at Dutch VWO level.


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with PCC-12303 General Chemistry 1.

Living organisms have a remarkable capacity to regulate physiologically the inner environment. Electrolyte levels, pH-levels, 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 physical-chemical mechanisms. In this course we will focus on the general chemical or (physical-chemical) mechanisms on a molecular level that are involved in the Life Sciences. These mechanisms include energy exchange, Gibbs free energy as driving force, molecular interactions, various types of equilibrium, buffer systems, ATP-coupling and reaction kinetics. Some of these mechanisms are interpreted from the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain and identify various types of (chemical) bonds in (bio)chemical molecules;
- identify and examine driving forces (total entropy change, reaction Gibbs energy) behind (bio)chemical reactions and apply these to topics like the direction of spontaneity and equilibrium constants of chemical reactions;
- apply principles of reaction kinetics (reaction order, reaction rate, Michaelis Menten kinetics) to (bio)chemical reactions;
- identify properties of aqueous solutions of acids and bases and mixtures of these and apply these to topics like the pH of acid, basic or buffer solutions;
- execute experiments in the domain of general and physical chemistry following a given protocol and analyze the outcomes.


- participation in tutorials;
- participation in practicals;
- independent study.


- Written exam with multiple choice questions.
All practicals need to be completed successfully (go/no go). Interim results are valid for six years.


Crowe, J.; Bradshaw, T. (2014). Chemistry for the biosciences: the essential concepts. Third edition. Oxford University Press. 740p. ISBN:978-0-19-966288-3.
Practical manual and workbook. All are available at the WUR-shop.

Verplicht voor: BBIBiologyBSc2AF
BASAnimal SciencesBSc4AF
BPWPlant SciencesBSc1AF
BVGNutrition and HealthBSc4MO