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Eur J Biochem. 1996 Aug 15;240(1):1-14.

IUPAC-IUBMB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature (JCBN). Recommendations for nomenclature and tables in biochemical thermodynamics. Recommendations 1994.

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Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA.

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  • Eur J Biochem 1996 Dec 1;242(2):433.


Chemical equations are written in terms of specific ionic and elemental species and balance elements and charge, whereas biochemical equations are written in terms of reactants that often consist of species in equilibrium with each other and do not balance elements that are assumed fixed such as hydrogen at constant pH. Both kinds of reaction equations are needed in biochemistry. When the pH and the free concentrations of certain metal ions are specified, the apparent equilibrium constant K' for a biochemical reaction is written in terms of sums of species and can be used to calculate a standard transformed Gibbs energy of reaction deltarG'o. Transformed thermodynamic properties can be calculated directly from conventional thermodynamic properties of species. Calorimetry or the dependence of K' on temperature can be used to obtain the standard transformed enthalpy of reaction deltarH'o. Standard transformed Gibbs energies of formation deltafG'o(i) and standard transformed enthalpies of formation deltafH'o(i) for reactants (sums of species) can be calculated at various T, pH, pMg, and ionic strength (I) if sufficient information about the chemical reactions involved is available. These quantities can also be calculated from measurement if K' for a number of reactions under the desired conditions. Tables can be used to calculate deltafG'o and deltarH'o for many more reactions.

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