Pre-requisites: CHEM1031 AND CHEM1032
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Describe the biosynthesis of major biomolecules.
- Discuss the need for and environmental impact of common pesticides (insecticides and herbicides).
- Describe the biological mechanisms of action of common pesticides.
- Describe the composition and environmental impact of crude oil spills.
- Discuss the mechanisms of chemical and biochemical degradation of common pesticides.
- Describe the degradation of biomolecules.
- Describe methods for extraction, separation, purification and analysis of organic environmental pollutants, using crude oil and pesticides as key examples.
- Explain concepts of major biomolecules.
- Apply organic chemistry principles to explain chemistry of biomolecules.
- Explain the chemical synthesis of common pesticides, with detailed reaction mechanisms where appropriate.
Introduction to Organic Molecules in the Environment.
The course begins by describing the chemical structure and properties of several important families of organic compounds that occur in the natural enviroment. These include carbohydrates, proteins (including enzymes), fatty acids, terpenes and lignins. Aspects covered will include the naming and chemical structure, functional groups and biochemical roles and their biosynthesis. The following biosynthetic transformations will be covered: polysaccharides from monosaccharides; D-glucose from carbon dioxide; the plant polymer lignin from cinnamic acids
Fate of Organic Molecules in the Environment
The second section describes the degradation of organic molecules in the environment. The chemical stability of organic molecules and the chemistry of their breakdown is discussed. The biochemical mechansims that degrade organic molecules and recycle them, including glycosidases, protease and lipases and fatty acid catabolism are discussed. The chemistry of biological oxidations in mammalian and microbial systems is described. The carbon cycle and the formation of coal oil and gas is discussed. Man’s discovery of oil and gas reserves depends on our ability to determine their presence and quality in geological formations.
Man-made Materials in the Environment
The third section of the course includes a discussion of man-made environmental pollution, including concepts of chemical toxicity, biomagnification and persistence. Six classes of compounds will be studied: organophosphorus and carbamate insecticides, organochlorine insecticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and herbicides. The chemistry, biological activity and environmental consequences of use of each class will be described including the structures, chemical synthesis, mode of action, enviromental impact and associated problems, mechanisms of dispersal and highlighting some solutions to environmental problems.
Pollution in the Environment and Modern Analytical Methods
The final section of the course will show how extraction methods and modern trace analysis (gas and liquid chromatography), when used in combination with mass spectrometry, can be employed to investigate the persistence and breakdown of organic pollutants in the environment. Examples and case studies used will draw on the topics covered in the earlier sections of the course.
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Lectures, problem-solving Seminars with group working and tutor support
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||38|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
R P Schwarzenbach, P M Gschwend and D M Imboden (2002). Environmental Organic Chemistry. John Wiley & Sons Inc.
G W van Loon and S J Duffy (2000). Environmental Chemistry: A Global Perspective. Oxford University Press.
J Mann (1987). Secondary Metabolism. Oxford University Press.
Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers. Organic Chemistry. Oxford University Press.
S D Killops and V J Killops (2004). An Introduction to Organic Geochemistry. Blackwell Science.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External