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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1987 Jun 15;145(2):842-6.

Water induced dismutation of superoxide anion generates singlet molecular oxygen.


Direct spectroscopic measurement of 1268 nm singlet oxygen emission from KO2 suspensions at room temperature in three non-protonic solvents--CCl4, Cl2FCCClF2, and C6F14 by the action of water is reported. The results clearly show that the singlet oxygen generation is due to a water induced reaction, and suggest that one role of the enzyme superoxide dismutase may be the protection of biological structures, for example, lipid membranes, from degradation by singlet oxygen.

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