Bio-Organic Chemistry

General information

Lecturers: Prof. dr. E. Meyer, Prof. dr. N. Sanders; Year taught: 1st Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine

Position of the course

In this course the students will be introduced to the structure, nomenclature and properties of bio-organic molecules, gain knowledge and insights into the most important types of organic reactions and their mechanism. During the group exercises the students can train their knowledge and insights.

When relevant, organic structures will be linked to the properties and reactions of biomolecules.


In the course we will discuss the structure and properties of functional groups (molecules), their reactivity and nomenclature. More particularly we will discuss the structure and reactivity of: alkanes, cyclo alkanes, alkenes and alkynes, terpenes, alkyl halides, alcohol and thiols, ethers and epoxides, sulphides, amines, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and derivatives, aromates and hetero aromates and phenols. Stereochemistry and stereochemical reactions also form an important part of the course.

The following reactions will be discussed: acidity and basicity, nucleophilic substitutions and eliminations, radical reactions, addition reactions, carbonyl α-substitution reactions, carbonyl condensation reactions, aromatic substitution reactions, oxidation and reduction. An introduction to the biomolecules will also be given.

Final competences

  1.  The students know and understand the structure of atoms and organic molecules.
  2. The students can appoint hybridisatietoestand of C, N, O in organic molecules.
  3. The students can identify simple organic compounds from the name and can draw their structure.
  4. The students know the different types of isomerism and can apply this knowledge.
  5. The students understand the properties and the polarity of covalent bonds and know and understand the different intermolecular interactions. They can also link this knowledge with the solubility of organic molecules.
  6. The students know what radioactive isotopes are and know the different types of radioactive radiation.
  7. The students can record the resonance (resonance) structures of organic molecules.
  8. The students understand the thermodynamic aspects that determine the balance and speed of an organic reaction.
  9. The students can recognize a carbon radical, a carbocation and carbanion and know their reactivity.
  10. The students know and understand the structure and conformations of alkanes.
  11. The students can of the various types of organic compounds compare the main key physical properties (boiling point, melting point, solubility) in a transparent manner.
  12. The students know and understand the radical reactions (halogenation, oxidation) that alkanes undergo and can apply them.
  13. The students know the shape and properties of cycloalkanes.
  14. The students know the structure and stability of alkenes and dienes. They also know the discussed chemical reactions that these molecules can undergo and can apply them.
  15. The students know and understand the concepts of chiral, achiral, stereo-isomers, enantiomers, diastereomers, cis / trans, E / Z, optical isomers, optical activity.
  16. Students can identify the configuration of the chiral carbon atom via the R, S and D, L nomenclature.
  17. The students know the discussed reactions that halogenalkanes may undergo and can apply them.
  18. The students know the discussed chemical reactions that alcohols and thiols may undergo and can apply them.
  19. The students know the discussed chemical reactions that ethers, epoxides and sulfides may undergo and can apply them.
  20. The students know the discussed chemical reactions amines can undergo and can apply them.
  21. The students know the discussed chemical reactions that aldehydes and ketones can undergo and can apply them.
  22. The students know the discussed chemical reactions that carboxylic acids and carboxylic acid derivatives can undergo and can apply them.
  23. The students know the discussed chemical reactions that aromatics can undergo and can apply them.
  24. The students can recognize aromatic molecules.
  25. The students understand toxicity of preservatives.
  26. The students understand why intensive livestock production contributes to global warming and explosive gases may be formed in manure storage sites.
  27. The students understand the toxicity of pesticides and herbicides to people/animals and the environment.
  28. The students understand that medicinal organic molecules exert their effects by interactions with biomolecules in the body.
  29. The students understand that drugs can also be toxic and that the configuration of optically active medicines is important.
  30. The students understand that digestion represents the breaking of chemical bonds in biomolecules and the energy released by these reactions is used by living organisms to move, to think, to grow and renew cells in tissue.
  31. The students understand why radiation is dangerous.
  32. The students understand that drugs may only be mixed together when this is in the package insert or when an expert (chemist) was consulted