Modern biochemistry developed out of and largely came to replace what in the nineteenth and early twentieth century was called physiological chemistry, which dealt more with extracellular chemistry such as the chemistry of digestion and of body fluids.
Perhaps the first biochemical experiment in Europe may have been that of Jan Baptista Van Helmont (1577-1644). Van Helmont a contemporary of William Harvey, deducted from an experiment that willow tree grew without deriving its substance primarily from the soil but from the water alone.
He tried to explain all disease phenomenon as chemical changes. This point can be considered as marking the beginning of biochemistry.
The word ‘biochemie’ was coined by Hoppe-Seyler in his introduction to the first volume of Zeitschrift fur Physiologische Chemie in 1877.
The first use of the term ‘biochemistry’ in a journal was in 1902 in F. Hof-meister’s Beitragezur Chemische Physiologie und Pathologie.
In the United States, J.J Able and C.A Herter founded the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1905, while in Britain the Biochemical Journal was founded in 1906.
Classical biochemistry is in the main study of cytoplasmic enzymes and the interacting pathways of reactions which they catalyze.
Until the mid 1940s those engaged in these studies had been trained primarily as chemists or physiologists.
History of biochemistry
History of science is devoted to the history of science, medicine and technology from earliest times to the present day. Histories of science were originally written by practicing and retired scientists, starting primarily with William Whewell, as a way to communicate the virtues of science to the public.
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