Life, Metabolism and Energy

Part of the Physical Chemistry in Action book series (PCIA)


The energy processes that support life are analysed with respect to their thermodynamic and kinetic requirements: (1) a flow of energy in order that self-organisation does not violate the 2nd Law of thermodynamics and (2) the fact that life must be regarded as a kinetic state of matter. Aside from anabolism consisting in the synthesis of metabolites, including the activated precursors of biopolymers, the need for energy flow coming from catabolism or physical sources of energy is emphasised. Quantitative conclusions are reached by considering the lifetime of side-reactions and the absolute temperature. This relationship is consistent with the fact that self-organisation involves covalent bonds and implies the contribution of energy sources with a high thermodynamic potential. These constraints lead to a definition of the conditions under which self-organisation is possible, contribute to determine the nature of the system, and bring about a new concept with regard to the habitability of exoplanets: the compatibility with the origin of life.


Free Energy Covalent Bond Catalytic Cycle Thermodynamic Potential Energy Carrier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UMR 5247, Institut des Biomolécules Max MousseronCNRS-Université Montpellier 1 & 2Montpellier CedexFrance

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