Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2015 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, Daniele L. Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Daniel Rouan, Tilman Spohn, Stéphane Tirard, Michel Viso

Redox Potential

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-44185-5_1356



The redox potential is a measure of the thermodynamic driving force for a species to either donate electrons (be oxidized) or accept electrons (be reduced) in aqueous chemical reactions.


With origins in electrochemistry, the concept of redox potential is also widely employed in describing and understanding the energetics of electron transfer chemistry in biological and geochemical systems. While defined in the strict chemical sense in reference to a single species or reaction, redox potential is also sometimes considered in both biology and geochemistry as a property of an overall system (e.g., an assemblage of microorganisms or minerals) that influences reactions and processes occurring within the system. Significant differences exist in the terminology and measures used to describe redox potential in the geochemical and biological sciences, but all relate fundamentally to the direction of, and thermodynamic driving force for,...


Oxidation Reduction Electrochemical potential 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Atkins PW (1990) Physical chemistry, 4th edn. WH Freeman, New York, see Chapter 10, “Equilibrium electrochemistry”Google Scholar
  2. Madigan MT, Martinko JM, Parker J (2000) Brock biology of microorganisms, 9th edn. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, see Section 4.6, “Oxidation-reduction”Google Scholar
  3. Stumm W, Morgan JJ (1996) Aquatic chemistry: chemical equilibria and rates in natural waters, 3rd edn. Wiley-Interscience, New York, see Chapter 8, “Oxidation and reduction; equilibria and microbial mediation”Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Exobiology BranchNASA Ames Research CenterMountain ViewUSA