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Main article: Psychological effects of heat

In thermodynamics, biological thermodynamics (Greek: bios = life and logikos = reason + Greek: thermos = heat and dynamics = power) is the study of energy transformation in the biological sciences. More definitively, biological thermodynamics may be defined as the quantitative study of the energy transductions that occur in and between living organisms, structures, and cells and of the nature and function of the chemical processes underlying these transductions.

Overview Edit

Living cells and organisms must perform work to stay alive, to grow, and to reproduce themselves. The ability to harness energy from a variety of metabolic pathways so to channel it into biological work is a fundamental property of all living organisms. Thermodynamically, the amount of energy capable of doing work during a chemical reaction is measured quantitatively by the change in the Gibbs free energy.

Typical emphasis is on thermodynamic applications in biology and biochemistry. Principles covered include the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, Gibbs free energy, statistical thermodynamics, binding equilibria, reaction kinetics, and on hypotheses of the origin of life. Presently, biological thermodynamics concerns itself with the study of internal biochemical dynamics as: ATP hydrolysis, protein stability, DNA binding, membrane diffusion, enzyme kinetics, and other such essential energy controlled pathways. Biological thermodynamics may also be synonymous with 'bioenergetics'.

References Edit

  • Haynie, D. (2001). Biological Thermodynamics (textbook). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lehninger, A., Nelson, D., & Cox, M. (1993). Principles of Biochemistry, 2nd Ed (textbook). New York: Worth Publishers.

Further readingEdit


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