Course detail

Introduction to Chemistry of Natural Materials

FCH-BC_UCHPMAcad. year: 2023/2024

The interpretation begins with the main biological medium - water. This is followed by the theme of the most widely used biopolymer - cellulose. The topic of cellulose and its primary localization in plants is related to the theme of porphyrin compounds and their complexes. The functionality of these complexes determines the existence of another significant starch polymer. And the topic of plants is directly related to humic substances. The effect of coevolution of various organisms will be explained by the beta (1-3) -D-glucan example and its effect on the immune response of the human organism. The topic of betaglucans is closely linked to chitin, due to the existence of a chitin-glucan complex in fungi. The principles of functionality of building proteins will be mentioned in the topics of keratin and collagen. All of the above are linked to both environmental and ethical issues that the course participants will look for for their answers.

Language of instruction


Number of ECTS credits


Mode of study

Not applicable.

Entry knowledge

Fundamentals of general, inorganic and organic chemistry.

Rules for evaluation and completion of the course

Examination: written and oral route - student demonstrates knowledge through a logical understanding of the subject matter.
Presence at lectures.


The aim of the course is to acquaint students with the basic principles, materials and materials occurring in a natural environment with an emphasis on the chemistry of biopolymers.
Upon completion of the course the student will focus on issues related to important representatives of biopolymers and other natural substances and their role in nature. Emphasis will be placed not only on the understanding of the relationship between primary structure and higher structures, but also on the involvement of chemical individuals in complex matrices occurring in living systems. On selected examples the student will be able to derive general characteristics for a given group of substances. The student will focus on the evolution of biopolymers as well as be aware of the environmental implications of biopolymers. At the same time, a basic orientation in the ethics of biopolymers is assumed.

Study aids

Not applicable.

Prerequisites and corequisites

Not applicable.

Basic literature

Kadlec P. a kol.: Technologie sacharidů, VŠCHT, Praha 2000 (CS)
Vandamme E. J., Steinbüchel A.: Biopolymers Vol. 5-6. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2002. (EN)

Recommended reading

KLUČÁKOVÁ, M.; ČECHOVÁ, E.; BACHRATÁ, R.; PEKAŘ, M. BEHAVIOUR OF HUMIC ACIDS IN WATER AND AQUEOUS SOLUTIONS. In Solid Waste Management and Environmental Remediation. Environmental Remediation: Regulatory Requirements, Site Assessment and Health Effects. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2010. s. 453-465. ISBN: 978-1-60741-761- 3. (EN)


Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme BPCP_CHTN Bachelor's, 3. year of study, summer semester, compulsory-optional
  • Programme BKCP_CHCHTE Bachelor's, 3. year of study, summer semester, compulsory
  • Programme BPCP_CHCHTE Bachelor's, 3. year of study, summer semester, compulsory
  • Programme BPCP_CHMA Bachelor's, 3. year of study, summer semester, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


1) Introduction - concept of the subject, evolution of biopolymers.
2) Water as a living medium.
3) Cellulose - structure, integration into living matrix, basic chemical modification, degradation.
4) Chemistry of porphyrin cycles - structure, comparison of heme and chlorophyll, involvement in hemoglobin matrix, cytochrome C.
5) Betaglucans - structure, degradation, role in the immune system.
6) Chitin, chitosan - strength characteristics of natural composites.
7) Keratin - modification, secondary structure and its properties.
8) Starch - shrubs and spirals in starch grains, consequences of physico-chemical properties.
9) Soil as a lively colloid system.
10) Humic substances.
11) Agrochemistry and human interventions in soil.
12) Collagen.
13) Ecology of the use of natural materials, ethics of the use of biopolymers.