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The basis of the principle of the master reaction in biology

, : The basis of the principle of the master reaction in biology. Jour Cell And Comp Physiol 9(1): 1-14

-This principle is that the rate of a chain of processes is detd. dominantly by the speed of the slowest process in the chain. If it be valid, by studying complex biological systems the characteristics of single reactions within them may be found. Its origin in the analysis of a chain of 2 irreversible monomolecular reactions is traced. A criterion is established showing how much less one velocity constant must be than the other for the slower reaction to dominate the chain within a given %. It is impossible, when the Arrhenius law of change of rate with temp. is followed, for the mastery to change from one reaction to the other with temp. unless the "critical increments," [mu], differ by a required amt. The apparent agreement of data with the Arrhenius law is not sufficient evidence that a master reaction is in control. as it may result from dominance shared by a no. of reactions of different temp. characteristics. Generalization to more complicated systems makes the criterion more exacting, and in the steady state the principle has no application. It is concluded that the principle has very restricted validity in simple idealized systems, and doubtful application to real complex systems.


DOI: 10.1002/jcp.1030090102

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