Present and Future Uses and a Bit of History

  • John T. Edsall

Abstract

Workers in biochemistry and biophysics frequently have need for thermodynamic data relating to molecules, both small and large, and to the equilibrium properties of systems involving such molecules. Knowledge of the partial specific or molar volumes, heat capacities, and compressibilities of molecules of biological interest is frequently important, both in the planning of experiments and in understanding molecular interactions. The characterization of reversible conformational transitions, in nucleic acids, proteins, and other molecules, is a central problem today, whether those transitions are associated with ligand binding, with temperature or pressure changes, or with various other conditions. Thermodynamics is often relevant to kentic studies, as in many, perhaps most, enzyme-catalyzed reactions, for which certain intermediate steps in the total process may be essentially at equilibrium at any moment. The special thermodynamic properties of water and aqueous solutions, as they relate to ions, and to polar and nonpolar molecules, are naturally of supreme importance in biology.

Keywords

Burning Entropy Dioxide Depression Albumin 

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

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  • John T. Edsall

There are no affiliations available

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