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Chemistry & Biochemistry: Biochemistry

Subject guide for chemistry and biochemistry

Locating Books

To locate books on your topic, use UCSB Library Search ( As a starting point, use a keyword search on the likely terms. You will get a mix of books, articles and other resources. Use the Refine my search" options on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow your results (for example) to just books. You are unlikely to find references to a single compound, but may be able to find useful books on classes of compounds, such as carbohydrates, nucleic acids, proteins or enzymes. For more general searches, try a subject search on "biochemistry" or "molecular biology", then browse through the suggested alternative subject headings to see if a more specific one is recommended before browsing the titles under "Biochemistry" itself. Call number ranges for biochemistry include:

  • Biological chemistry: QD 415-441
  • Plant biochemistry/Phytochemistry: QK 861-899
  • Animal biochemistry: QP 501-801
  • Experimental pharmacology: QP 901-981
  • Microbiological biochemistry: QR 148
  • Biochemistry of viruses: QR 467
  • Toxicology: RA 1190-1270
  • Pharmaceutical chemistry: RS 400-441

General Reference Works



"Comprehensive" series
These encyclopedic series from Pergamon Press have excellent review articles covering the breadth of their subject areas. Titles of interest to biochemists include:
Comprehensive Biophysics (online only at UCSB)
Comprehensive Biotechnology, 2nd ed    (First edition is available in print at TP 248.2 .C66 1985)
Comprehensive Glycoscience     Ref QP 701 .C65 2007
Comprehensive Medicinal Chemistry     Ref RS 402 .C65 1990
Comprehensive Medicinal Chemistry II     RS 402 .C65 2007
Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry     QD 415 .C63 1999
Comprehensive Natural Products II (online only at UCSB
Comprehensive Supramolecular Chemistry    Ref QD 411 .C66 1996 (includes several volumes on biomolecular topics)
Comprehensive Toxicology    RA 1199 .C648 1997

Concise Encyclopedia Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 3rd ed.    SEL Ref QD 415 .A25 B713 1997
A useful one-volume encyclopedia of terms and concepts in biochemistry.

Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry     Ref QD 415 .A25 E53 2004
Four volume work with expert articles on very specific topics, including enzyme families, metabolic diseases, receptors, transporters and much more.

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences UCSB Only (
The Encyclopedia of Life Sciences contains articles on all areas of biology, including biochemistry.  The online version may be browsed by broad subject areas and article title, or searched full-text. It is available in print at SEL Ref Area QH 302.5 .E53 2002. UCSB Only ( provides an extensive collection of reference works in the sciences, including biochemistry. Individual works or the entire collection may be searched by keyword or numerical data. Many works contain enhanced tables, graphs or equations.

New Comprehensive Biochemistry    QD 415 .N48
A series of volumes with review articles in a wide variety of areas of biochemistry. Each volume is individually catalogued in UCSB Library Search and can be found with a keyword search for specific topics. UCSB owns volumes 1-40 at present.

Practical Handbook of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology    SEL Ref QP 514.2 .P73 1989
This CRC handbook focuses on properties and methods of study of proteins and amino acids; nucleic acids, nucleosides and nucleotides; lipids, and some general physical properties.

This site allows you to search for articles in the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE database, or specialized nucleotide, protein and genome databases -- an immense amount of biochemistry and molecular biology information, with powerful search tools.

Studies in Natural Products Chemistry    QD 415 .A2 S78 1988
An ongoing series of volumes of review articles, mainly dealing with synthesis, but also delving into the biological activity of a wide variety of natural products. UCSB currently owns volumes 1-18.



Laboratory Protocols

Nucleic Acids

Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) (
The primary objective of KEGG is to computerize the current knowledge of molecular interactions; namely, metabolic pathways, regulatory pathways, and molecular assemblies. At the same time, KEGG maintains gene catalogs for all the organisms that have been sequenced and links each gene product to a component on the pathway. KEGG also organizes a database of all chemical compounds in living cells and links each compound to a pathway component. And finally, KEGG aims at developing new bioinformatics technologies toward functional reconstruction. In addition, the KEGG site has a good collection of links to other biochemical Web resources.

Nucleic Acid Database (
A variety of structural databases on nucleic acids, developed by the Nucleic Acid Database Project at Rutgers University.

The RNA World (
This site, from the Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie - Jena, has links to a wealth of information on RNA sequences, secondary structures, folding and 3D structures of RNA.

Prof. Michael Zuker's Website (
Another rich resource on RNA and DNA secondary structure, including servers for RNA and DNA folding on which you can input your own sequences.

Nature Encyclopedia of the Human Genome    SEL Ref QH 447 .E53 2003
This five volume work covers a broad range of topics related to the human genome, from methods in genomics and proteomics, to specific genes and genetic diseases.


Amino Acids and Peptides    SEL Ref QP 561 .A48 1985
Same format at the "Dictionary of" series listed above.

Human Protein Data    SEL Ref QP 551 .H845 1992
This loose-leaf volume contains information on the structure, properties and function of a variety of human proteins.

Practical Protein Chemistry: a handbook    QP 551 .P65 1986

Protein Data Bank (
The RCSB PDB provides a variety of tools and resources for studying the structures of biological macromolecules and their relationships to sequence, function, and disease. The RCSB is a member of the wwPDB whose mission is to ensure that the PDB archive remains an international resource with uniform data. This site offers tools for browsing, searching, and reporting that utilize the data resulting from ongoing efforts to create a more consistent and comprehensive archive.

ExPASy Proteomics Server (
A collection of several protein sequence and structure databases, assembled by the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics.

Biological Macromolecule Crystallization Database (
The Biological Macromolecule Crystallization Database (BMCD) contains crystal data and the crystallization conditions, which have been compiled from literature. The current version of the BMCD includes 3547 crystal entries from 2526 biological macromolecules for which diffraction quality crystals have been obtained. These include proteins, protein:protein complexes, nucleic acid, nucleic acid:nucleic acid complexes, protein:nucleic acid complexes, and viruses.


Enzymes and Biocatalysis

Methods in Enzymology    print: QP 601 .C56, online: Only
The name of this immense (over 500 volumes as of Jan. 2012, and growing) series underestimates the breadth and depth of its coverage. While it contains excellent review articles on methods of all kinds, especially in enzymology, its articles frequently explore the functions of the substrates the enzymes act on. Volumes are not arranged by subject, but are published in semi-random order. Many volumes are individually cataloged in UCSB Library Search, and so can be located by a subject search. Multi-volume subject indexes are published from time to time, and each volume has a title list of all volumes just after the preface, so starting with the most recent volume and working backward can be advantageous. Recently, the entire series from 1955 to the present has become available online, where you can browse the volumes's Tables of Contents, or search by keyword within the entire series or any individual volume.

The Enzymes    QP 601 .E5 1970
Twenty volume set, published from 1970 to 1992, edited by Paul Boyer. It is organized primarily by enzyme function.

Enzyme Handbook     Ref QP 601 .E5158 2001, 2nd ed.
A 39 volume data collection with nomenclature, structure, function, reactivity, source and preparation information, organized by EC number.

Enzyme Reference  Ref QP 601 .P87 2002
Good one-volume reference work.

Comprehensive Biological Catalysis     Ref QP 601 .C738 1998
Four volume set, focusing on mechanisms of action. Volumes I, II and III cover electrophilic, nucleophilic and redox reactions respectively. Volume IV has encyclopedic articles on a variety of related concepts.

Source Book of Enzymes     Ref QP 601 .W446 1997
Application and activity information for over 7000 commercially-available enzymes. Organized by EC number.

Enzyme Nomenclature     Ref QP 601 .I54 1984
Official nomenclature recommendations of the IUB. For more recent information, see the ENZYME database below.

BRENDA: The Comprehensive Enyzme Information System (
BRENDA is the main collection of enzyme functional data available to the scientific community. It is available free of charge for academic, non-profit users via the internet. As available, each enzyme has data on nomenclature, reactions and specificity, structure, isolation and preparation, stability and cross-references to sequence databasnks. Although BRENDA gives a representative overview on the characteristics and variability of each enzyme the Handbook is not a compendium. The reader will have to go to the primary literature for more detailed information.

ENZYME: Enzyme nomenclature database (
This database, part of ExPASy, lets you find information on enzymes using the Enzyme Commission numbering system and IUBMB nomenclature. You may search by number, class, description, substrate or product, and cofactor.



Carbohydrates    Ref QP 701 .C294 1987
Same format as the "Dictionary of" series listed above.

Glycomics Portal (
A collection of glycomics resources from the University of Georgia's Complex Carbohydrates Research Center


Other Molecules of Biochemical Interest

Porphyrin Handbook    Ref QP 671 .P6 P67 2000
Very up-to-date and comprehensive 20-volume work on the chemistry and biochemistry of porphyrins.

Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry II    Ref QD 474 .C65 2004
Volume 8 of this set is devoted to biocoordination chemistry, including excellent review articles on electron transfer metal complexes, oxygen-binding metalloproteins, metalloenzymes of all sorts, and DNA/RNA-metal complexes.


Collections of Databases

National Center for Biotechnology Information (
The premier center in the United States for molecular biology databases. The structure databases all use the Entrez text searching system.

European Bioinformatics Institute Services (
This site has a large collection of links to databases (most free on the Web) and software packages useful for nucleic acid and protein researchers.


Locating Articles

Subject Guide

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