If you like us, please share us on social media.
The latest UCD Hyperlibrary newsletter is now complete, check it out.

ChemWiki: The Dynamic Chemistry E-textbook > Organic Chemistry > Organic Chemistry With a Biological Emphasis

Organic Chemistry With a Biological Emphasis

Table of Contents
    1. 1.1. Full Table of Contents
    2. 1.2.  
    3. 1.3. Introduction
    4. 1.4. Chapter 1: Introduction to organic structure and bonding, part I
    5. 1.5. Chapter 2: Introduction to organic structure and bonding, part  II
    6. 1.6. Chapter 3: Conformations and stereochemistry
    7. 1.7. Chapter 4: Structure determination, part I 
    8. 1.8. Infrared spectroscopy, UV-visible spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry
    9. 1.9. Chapter 5: Structure determination, part II
    10. 1.10. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    11. 1.11. Chapter 6: Introduction to organic reactivity and catalysis
    12. 1.12. Chapter 7: Organic compounds as acids and bases
    13. 1.13. Chapter 8: Nucleophilic substitution reactions, part I
    14. 1.14. Chapter 9: Nucleophilic substitution reactions, part II
    15. 1.15. Chapter 10: Phosphoryl transfer reactions
    16. 1.16. Chapter 11: Nucleophilic carbonyl addition reactions
    17. 1.17. Chapter 12: Acyl substitution reactions
    18. 1.18. Chapter 13: Reactions with stabilized carbanion intermediates, part I
    19. 1.19. Isomerization, aldol and Claisen condensation, and decarboxylation
    20. 1.20. Chapter 14: Reactions with stabilized carbanion intermediates, part II
    21. 1.21. Conjugate additions and eliminations, reactions with thiamine diphosphate and pyridoxal phosphate coenzymes
    22. 1.22. Chapter 15: Electrophilic reactions
    23. 1.23. Chapter 16: Oxidation and reduction reactions
    24. 1.24. Chapter 17: Radical reactions
    25. 1.25.  
    26. 1.26. Appendix I: Index of enzymatic reactions by metabolic pathway 
    27. 1.27. Appendix II: Review of laboratory synthesis reactions
    28. 1.28. Tables
    29. 1.29. Solutions to exercises and problems
  1. 2. Further Reading
  2. 3. Contributors

A free, open-access organic chemistry textbook in which the main focus is on relevance to biology and medicine

The traditional (and still prevalent) way to teach organic chemistry is to focus on examples that are primarily of interest to students who are planning to become professional organic chemists - that is, to focus on the molecules and reactions of organic synthesis, considering mainly non-aqueous conditions and non-biological reagents. The majority of students studying organic chemistry, however, are doing so because they are majoring in biology, biochemistry, or health sciences. They need to learn about the structure and reactivity of organic compounds because, quite simply, organic chemistry is the chemistry of life. What is most interesting and relevant to these students is the organic chemistry that takes place in the context of a living cell. 

In this online textbook, a unique approach is taken to the study of organic chemistry. To the greatest extent possible, biological molecules and biochemical reactions are used to explain and illustrate the central concepts of organic chemistry. This novel approach is most evident in chapters 9-17, which cover the main organic reaction mechanisms in a biological context. However, earlier chapters on organic structure and spectroscopy also focus as much as possible on examples of interest to students of biology and the health sciences. The chemistry of lab synthesis is not ignored - however, these examples are generally grouped together in subsections and introduced to illustrate parallels between laboratory and biological chemistry.

This is a dynamic textbook, meaning that it will be continuously undergoing revision in response to reader input. Please provide your suggestions and ideas in the 'Talk' pages behind each Module.

Black and white, paperback book versions are available  at the links below. (These links take you to the site of lulu.com, a POD (print-on-demand) publisher. They have production and shipping facilities at several international sites as well as in the U.S., which hopefully will keep shipping costs reasonable.)

Powerpoint files containing all of the figures in a given chapter are available upon request: contact Tim Soderberg 



Solutions to exercises and problems

Further Reading

Two resources which were very useful in the development of this textbook were The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways by John McMurry and Tadhg Begley (Roberts and Company, 2005) and Organic Chemistry of Enzyme-Catalyzed Reactions by Richard Silverman (Academic Press, 2002).  Both are highly recommended to those interested in pursuing more advanced study of biological organic chemistry.


You must to post a comment.
Last modified
11:35, 19 Nov 2014


This page has no custom tags.


Lower Divisional

Creative Commons License Unless otherwise noted, content in the UC Davis ChemWiki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at copyright@ucdavis.edu. Questions and concerns can be directed toward Prof. Delmar Larsen (dlarsen@ucdavis.edu), Founder and Director. Terms of Use