Science review for engineering students

Students in courses in biochemical engineering and environmental engineering need foundations in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology in order to appreciate what is happening in environmental processes. Even when these topics are listed as prerequisites for the engineering courses, students have taken different courses, and their recall of material may be spotty. By placing review materials on the World Wide Web, we can focus on the essential topics. There are links to more advanced treatments and additional topics not required for our courses.

Essential concepts for organic chemistry

  • functional groups
  • carbon-to-carbon-bonding
  • resonance
  • types of compounds, e.g., aliphatic, aromatic, heterocyclic
  • reactivity
  • oxidation/reduction

    WHY ?

  • obviously, when dealing with toxic wastes you must know the chemistry of the compounds
  • organic chemistry is a key to biochemistry
  • organic chemicals occur in our bioprocesses, in some non-biological situations, and are often commercial products

    Essential concepts for biochemistry

  • main categories: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids
  • pathways
  • enzymology
  • energy transfer

    WHY ?

  • The biochemistry of bioprocessing explains: conditions such as pH and temperature; stoichiometry; side reactions; degradation of (toxic ?) compounds and creation of (toxic ?) others

    Essential concepts for microbiology

  • growth: prokaryotic and eukaryotic
  • nutrition
  • diauxie
  • growth-limiting nutrient
  • death
  • spores and preservation
  • population dynamics
  • genetics

    WHY ?

    The microorganisms are conducting our processes. Engineering without understanding the scientific fundamentals would be mostly empirical fumbling.
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