Book review


  • An eBook version is also available for the book reviewed in this article.

Biochemistry: A Short Course, 2nd Edition John L. Tymoczko, Jeremy M. Berg, Lubert Stryer, W. H. Freeman and Co., New York, 2013. ISBN 1-4292-8360-2, ISBN-13:978-1-4292-8360-1, Paperback, 800 pp., $153.95.

James K. Zimmerman*, * Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634.

This text is the second edition of a popular textbook. The text obviously caters to those preparing for medical or health-related professions and for the math phobic. This book does an admirable job of covering the basics at a reasonable depth appropriate for a text at this level, but it could not be considered a reference text for those intending to study biochemistry in detail.

The text is divided into 16 sections with several short chapters in each. At the beginning of each section is a list of key terms and things a student should have mastered by the end of that section. Within each chapter are some miniquizzes which are answered at the end of each chapter. Also at the end of each chapter is a summary, questions that include matching, interpretation, challenge, and data interpretation (when appropriate). Most of these questions indicate which learning objectives are being addressed in the question. Answers to all of the questions are given at the back of the text.

The text includes four extensive appendices. One for physical constants, a second a list of biological pKas, the third a list of standard bond lengths, and the fourth a very complete table of water-soluble vitamins. This last appendix shows structures, coenzyme forms, sources, what happens if there is a deficiency, in what reactions the coenzyme is typically involved, and the recommended daily dose. There is also an extensive 16 page glossary that is very well done.

The authors continue their very effective use of color to convey to students which parts of molecules are involved in various reactions. The text also makes extensive use of clinical, biological, and nutritional examples in each chapter. There are more editing problems than Iwould anticipate for a second edition by an outstanding publisher. Most of these problems deal with inappropriate spacing or errors in figures. Only in one place did I find an inadvertent error where the word axial was substituted for equatorial when discussing one instance of the structure of beta-glucose. Overall, the text is very readable and adequate in its coverage.

As with all current texts, there is a companion web site. For students this includes problem-solving videos, Jmol figures for all protein structures in the text, online quizzes for each chapter and web links to other aspects of biochemistry. For the instructors there are also JPEG and PowerPoint files, a test bank, and clicker questions. There is also a BiochemPortal that allows instructors to do assessment tracking and has grading tools as well as having additional resources for students. Sold separately is a Student Companion by Deis, Gerber, Gumport, and Koeppe which has self-assessment problems and expanded solutions to the end-of-chapter questions in the Tymoczko et al. text. None of these have been reviewed by me.