Biological Inorganic Chemistry: A New Introduction to Molecular Structure and Function, Second Edition, provides a comprehensive discussion of the biochemical aspects of metals in living systems. Beginning with an overview of metals and selected nonmetals in biology, the book then discusses the following concepts: basic coordination chemistry for biologists; structural and molecular biology for chemists; biological ligands for metal ions; intermediary metabolism and bioenergetics; and methods to study metals in biological systems. The book also covers metal assimilation pathways; transport, storage, and homeostasis of metal ions; sodium and potassium channels and pumps; magnesium phosphate metabolism and photoreceptors; calcium and cellular signaling; the catalytic role of several classes of mononuclear zinc enzymes; the biological chemistry of iron; and copper chemistry and biochemistry. In addition, the book discusses nickel and cobalt enzymes; manganese chemistry and biochemistry; molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium, and chromium; non-metals in biology; biomineralization; metals in the brain; metals and neurodegeneration; metals in medicine and metals as drugs; and metals in the environment.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2013 Textbook Excellence Awards (Texty) from the Text and Academic Authors Association
  • Readable style, complemented by anecdotes and footnotes
  • Enables the reader to more readily grasp the biological and clinical relevance of the subject
  • Color illustrations enable easy visualization of molecular mechanisms


This book provides an ideal introduction for scientists studying the importance of metals in biology, medicine and environmental sciences and for students following courses in inorganic biochemistry, bioinorganic chemistry or inorganic chemistry. It is designed for:
  Researchers: Because it is clearly written and gives a homogeneous view of the subject Chemistry, biology, microbiology, plant science, medical research (preclinical and clinical) environmental research
  Students: Chemists / biologists following courses or taking an advanced topic in Inorganic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, biological inorganic chemistry. chemical biology, medicine and environmental sciences
  Consultants: To have access to important information collected in one volume. Pharmacological industry, foodstuffs and agro-industries, environmental applications

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. An Overview of Metals and Selected Nonmetals in Biology


Why do We Need Anything Other Than C, H, N, and O (together with some P and S)?

What are the Essential Elements and the Essential Metal Ions?

An Idiosyncratic View of the Periodic Table

Chapter 2. Basic Coordination Chemistry for Biologists


Types of Chemical Bonds

Hard and Soft Ligands

Coordination Geometry

Redox Chemistry

Chapter 3. Structural and Molecular Biology for Chemists


The Structural Building Blocks of Proteins

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, and Quaternary Structure of Proteins

Secondary and Tertiary Structures of Nucleic Acids

Chapter 4. Biological Ligands for Metal Ions


Insertion of Metal Ions into Metalloproteins

Chelatase – The Terminal Step in Tetrapyrrole Metallation

Iron–Sulfur Cluster Formation

More Complex Cofactors – MoCo, FeMoCo, P-clusters, H-clusters, and CuZ


Chapter 5. An Overview of Intermediary Metabolism and Bioenergetics


Redox Reactions in Metabolism

The Central Role of ATP in Metabolism

The Types of Reaction Catalysed by Enzymes of Intermediary Metabolism

An Overview of Catabolism

Selected Case Studies – Glycolysis and the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle

An Overview of Anabolism

Selected Case Studies: Gluconeogenesis and Fatty Acid Biosynthesis

Bioenergetics – Generation of Phosphoryl Transfer Potential at the Expense of Proton Gradients

Chapter 6. Methods to Study Metals in Biological Systems


Magnetic Properties

Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy

Mössbauer Spectroscopy

NMR Spectroscopy

Electronic and Vibrational Spectroscopies

Circular Dichroism


No. of pages:
© 2012
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2013 Textbook Excellence Awards (Texty), Text and Academic Authors Association


"…a fine scholarly text written in a reader-friendly style to describe the various roles of metals in biological systems, human health, and the environment. It also considers the mechanisms and experimental methods for studying biological processes involving metals…I would highly recommend it to all interested biology, and biochemistry students and researchers."--Science Progress, vol 97, issue 1, 2014
"…a fine scholarly text written in a reader-friendly style to describe the various roles of metals in biological systems, human health, and the environment…The material of the second edition of this book has been updated, and new chapters have been included…I would highly recommend it to all interested biology, and biochemistry students and researchers."--Science Progress, February 18, 2014
"Crichton…offers this detailed and extensively illustrated text on inorganic components of biochemistry. Three introductory chapters explain the basic importance of metals in biology and orient biologists to coordination chemistry and chemists to molecular biology, respectively. General features of metal function are covered, including common ligands, their role in metabolism, assimilation and transport, and methods of study."--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013
"At first blush, inorganic biochemistry might sound like an oxymoron, but that is not the case here…Crichton’s book will be useful resource for students or researchers who want to understand the exciting world of inorganic biochemistry."--CHOICE, October 2012, Vol. 50, No. 02
"Robert Crichton has blended an element-centric approach to the subject with a biological thread that is engaging and helpful in exploring the topics in detail. The text is both accessible and detailed, but pitched at undergraduate level."--Chemistry World<