Facilitated Oxygen Diffusion by Oxygen Carriers

  • Jonathan B. Wittenberg
  • Beatrice A. Wittenberg
Part of the Topics in Environmental Physiology and Medicine book series (TEPHY)


Diffusion is a slow process. Oxygen has only a very limited solubility in water. Consequently, the rate of diffusion of oxygen into respiring cells limits the size of cells and limits the rate at which they can do sustained work. In those vertebrate muscles which are dedicated to sustained activity, the red muscles and red fibers in muscles of mixed fiber type, every muscle cell is in contact with at least one and as many as ten capillaries at its periphery. The problem of oxygen delivery to the tissue is reduced to a question of oxygen movement through the cytoplasm of each cell. Populations of separated individual cells can be prepared from the heart and liver of adult animals. Oxygen is supplied to these cells from a homogeneous surrounding medium whose oxygen pressure can be controlled experimentally. In this essay we focus attention on these two favorable preparations and on the legume root nodule and consider only noninvasive probes of intracellular oxygen pressure.


Nitrogen Fixation Oxygen Uptake Oxygen Pressure Oxygen Carrier Oxygen Flux 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan B. Wittenberg
  • Beatrice A. Wittenberg

There are no affiliations available

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