Haemoglobins and Myoglobins

  • C. A. Mcauliffe
Part of the Aspects of Inorganic Chemistry book series


The solubility of O2 in aqueous media is relatively low; one litre of pure water in equilibrium with air at 20°C and atmospheric pressure dissolves 6.59 cm3 of O293, which corresponds to a 3 × 10−4M solution. This limits the rate of diffusion of O2 from the surface of an organism and also the rate at which O2 can be delivered by a circulatory system. This could in turn place a severe restriction on the rate of energy production and hence on the metabolic level and general activity of an organism. Nature has therefore developed proteins with the aim of:
  1. (i)

    increasing the rate of delivery of O2 to the site of consumption, that is transporting O2, in the circulatory system and even within the cell;

  2. (ii)

    counteracting fluctuations in the supply (for example, when an air-breathing animal dives or a marine organism is uncovered by the retreating tide) or demand (for example, during sudden muscular activity), by storing O2.



Equilibrium Constant Salt Bridge Quaternary Structure Axial Ligand Porphyrin Ring 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Mcauliffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Science and TechnologyUniversity of ManchesterUK

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