By D. Rao Sanadi
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Extra resources for Current topics in bioenergetics Vol. 4
Energy Conversion —General Considerations DEGREE O F COUPLING In the preceding sections, the idea that processes might b e com pletely or incompletely coupled was taken as self-evident, although no measure of coupling was proposed. It will now b e shown that the phenomenological description of two coupled flows leads directly to a thermodynamic definition of their degree of coupling (Kedem and Caplan, 1965). In the following discussion w e shall b e considering a perfectly general system in which two processes are coupled and con sequently energy conversion may occur.
For example, energy is converted if a muscle raises a weight. Another example of conversion occurs in the loop of Henle, where sodium is transported against large differences of electrochemical potential at a rate which permits the osmotic water flow necessary to concentrate the urine. However, near static head and level flow energy conversion becomes small and η approaches zero. The function of a biological system operating under these cir cumstances is clearly not energy conversion, and therefore the efficiency is of no significance.
A series of incompletely coupled reactions dissipate free energy at a rate given by Eq. (24) (such a series is excluded, of course, from a completely stoichiometric system). In the incompletely coupled case as well as in the case of complete coupling, some of the individual reactions may certainly take place against their own affinity in accord ance with the appropriate kinetic parameters — the coupling co efficients. However, the direction in which they do take place is still determined by their own affinities and the affinities of the other coupled reactions.
Current topics in bioenergetics Vol. 4 by D. Rao Sanadi