Thursday, June 27, 2013

The BE&HM Series ~ Part VIII: Electron "Ownership" & Non-Reversible Oxidation

Previous posts in this series: Biophysical Electrochemistry and Human Metabolism, Part II: Atoms & The Periodic Table, Part III: The Main Group Elements, The Octet Rule and Ions, Part IV: Ionic Compounds, Elements & Oxidation State Defined, Part V: Covalent Bonding & Molecules, Part VI: Electron "Ownership" & Polarity, Part VII:  Chemical Reactions

In a lot of the discussions of mitochondria and the various metabolic pathways in general, the term "redox" gets thrown around a lot.  Redox is a contraction of the terms reduction and oxidation.  This generally applies to reversible reactions where one species is oxidized and the other reduced, but it actually applies to all reactions wherein electrons are "transferred" from one element to another.  Where I'm going here (and I don't know when I'll get there, but I will)  is to discuss redox couples and basically how we are electrochemical machines where one chemical reaction is coupled with another -- the energy released from  the favorable reaction drives the otherwise unfavorable chemical reaction to which it is coupled.
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